OGC regional activities: the Middle East

Last week in Austin, Texas, there was a meeting of the OGC members who are planning an OGC North American Forum. People working in organizations representing Canada, Mexico and the United States of America came together to outline the goals and the formulation of the forum. You are probably wondering what this has to do with the Middle East. Well, quite a lot actually.

At the same time, there were meetings involving the Abu Dhabi Police who have joined the OGC as a Principal Member; the first in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). The level of regional activity in the OGC has ramped up considerably in the last 12 months as awareness and desire to work more closely together with regional colleagues and open standards has increased around the world. Late last year we helped set up the OGC Asia Forum, earlier this year an OGC Nordic Forum was stood up and there is work underway to create an OGC Australia and New Zealand Forum.

Back to the Middle East. From 2– 4 April I will be attending the Middle East Geospatial Forum in Doha, Qatar. During that industry event I will be presenting in the Plenary Session on Spatial Data Infrastructure. I will be outlining some of the OGC activity underway in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Dubai, as well as explaining the OGC’s relationship with organizations such as the GSDI Association, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations (UN). I will also reference other regions, such as Canada, India and Europe where OGC standards are included in policy and technical guidance relating to Spatial Data Infrastructures.

Standards help reduce duplication, facilitate data access and sharing, and generally offer business benefit around long-term technology investments. However, most of this is irrelevant if you don’t have buy in from people actually implementing and delivering the systems and services.  OGC regional fora support OGC members who want to share their knowledge and understanding of the standards with other stakeholders in the region. If you are able to attend this session in Doha, there will be plenty of opportunity to address policy issues, and discuss how a regional forum can help members advance good local, subnational, national and international practice in open standards.