Helping the academic/research community to have more influence in OGC standards

(updated 4 July 2012)

Effective the first of July 2012, my work with OGC will focus mainly on geosciences outreach, with my new title as Research/Academic Advocate. I requested this change to allow me to transition into the academic / research community to sharpen my focus on the cultural and institutional issues that relate to the acceptance of geospatial standards and interoperability in academia. I’ve really been doing this since I became involved with OGC, but until recently this has been in addition to my “day job” leading OGC Web Services (OWS) test bed initiatives OWS-6, OWS-7, and OWS-8

As I leave my full-time employment with OGC I have accepted an appointment as Research Fellow in the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, primarily to work with and strengthen UT’s interdisciplinary Center for Integrated Earth System Science (CIESS). Starting in January 2013, I'll also be an Adjunct Lecturer in GIS at UT's School of Information. I’m grateful for all the support and encouragement I’ve found at UT Austin and among scientists around the world, to continue working to improve the influence of geosciences research in OGC standards development, and vice-versa.

As I transition from OGC to UT, I will be in a position to share the values, methods and benefits of OGC's technology standards and process in support of academic and research programs across the university community, and not just in geosciences. It has long been my personal goal to gain greater acceptance for technology standards development as an authentic component of the scientific process, and to demonstrate the relevance of organized communities of interest such as OGC to the basic measurement and modeling constructs on which advanced research is increasingly based. I also think that we at OGC have not yet learned as much as we can from academia. As an OGC Research Advocate working in an academic environment I see a unique opportunity to advance not only my personal intellectual goals, but the collaborative interdisciplinary objectives of both the consortium and university as well.  

I will continue to participate in interdisciplinary programs such as GEOSS Standards and Interoperability Forum (SIF), NSF EarthCube, and helping organize sessions for AGU and EGU conferences. I also look forward to becoming active again in more OGC working groups. My strongest interests are in:

  • spatially enabling the semantic web (or semantically enabling the spatial web, take your pick);
  • helping drive better coupling and knowledge transfer among hydrology, atmospheric and other sciences;
  • finding ways to improve the usability of climate model outputs among GIS users; and
  • finding the best practices and patterns for curation and long-term preservation of data.

I am organizing a seminar/webinar outreach series on data/model/knowledge integration and interoperability at UT Austin. If you have a topic of interest to stimulate other students and faculty, please let me know. I want to crack the technology barrier to make these seminars work with the world’s best talent and the least physical travel.  I’d love to see how we collectively can expand this outreach beyond our institutional boundaries through increasing collaboration with other key research and academic organizations. 

My thanks go to OGC for supporting my career aspirations with this appointment.  I look forward to shaping this new advocacy role to make the best use of my years of experience at OGC advancing understanding of the relevance of the standards process to academic research, as well as forging novel and well-resourced academic partnerships for the consortium as it continues to address society's most complex scientific and policy development challenges.

And my sincere gratitude goes to the uncountable number of you folks I’ve had the luck and pleasure to meet so far, who have made this work more rewarding and fun than I’ve had any right to expect. 

David K. Arctur, Ph.D.

Research Fellow, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin
david.arctur <at>  |

Research/Academic Advocate, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
darctur <at>  |