Change at OGC

Hi everyone, or perhaps I should say g’day.

With my relocation from Australia to England now complete, I have been wondering what my first OGC blog should be about. The excellent discussion generated in the past couple of weeks by Chris Holmes’s comments ( on the OGC GeoPackage Standard seems a perfect way to start. And as you all get to know me you will learn I love a good robust discussion.

So let me start by sharing why I joined OGC staff. Fundamentally I believe that to really achieve a state where we can access the information we need to understand the world and make decisions, we need open and freely available standards that work for as many people as possible. Sounds simple in theory, but of course the devil is in the detail of how you achieve this when you have many competing needs and demands from such a wide variety of organisations and communities. In the geospatial world though there is no standards organization like the OGC, that has committed to an approach where everyone’s voice is counted equal. So I joined OGC because I believe in an inclusive approach, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard and working together in a joint effort.

Chris’s comments ( are a brilliant example of the importance of everyone’s voice in the growth and development of the OGC and the geospatial standards we all need. I am delighted that he has joined the GeoPackage Standard Working Group (SWG) and am very sure he will bring challenging discussion and expert skill to the development of this standard. If you want to follow the development of this standard in particular, please make a submission, get involved in the working group or if you have an idea of how we can better communicate with you all about this let me know. Let’s make this successful and relevant.

Change is good. But nowadays change is fast, and from the conversation last week about GeoPackage there is clearly need for change at OGC. So I ask you to help us to evolve and change. If you have great ideas that you can share with us to help increase our capacity to change please let us know. Better still, get involved and work with us to help us change. The OGC is committed to making ‘open’ standards. This doesn’t just mean free, it also means open in their development and involvement from anyone in the industry.  Everyone should be able to get involved and help make change. As the head of Communications for OGC I want to see us embrace new and open ways to both develop the standards and communicate about them. This is not just an exercise in hearing your voice, but in listening, changing and ultimately being relevant and useful to the geospatial developer community. So what is your idea?

The GeoPackage discussion has sparked action across all the OGC staff and many members with topics appearing already on agendas at our next Technical & Planning Committee meeting in Abu Dhabi in March for further development in both the Planning Committee and working groups. Please make sure you get involved in these where you can.

2014 will see OGC reach its 20th year and we have seen some amazing achievements over that time that have completely changed the way that maps are shown and shared throughout the globe. However, 20 years is a long time and probably a very good time to take stock and look at the changes needed to continue to be relevant and innovative for at least another 20 years. This last week has shown me that there still is a need for the standards we strive to develop and to know that there are so many people who care about OGC standards and who are passionate enough to share their views and expertise is very encouraging.

I am looking forward to working with you all to shape the OGC for the next 20 years.