OGC's role in the world meteorology community

Contributed by: 
Chris Little

The Met Ocean Domain Working Group of OGC is now approaching its 5th birthday - it was established in 2009 at the OGC Athens Technical Committee, transformed itself from just 'Meteorology' to 'Meteorology & Oceanography', and persuaded everyone that Climatology is a subset, so did not need a separate interest group like Hydrology.

Meteorology is coordinated worldwide through a technical commission of the United Nations: the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), whose roots were established in the 19th century. There is a long tradition of global standards and interoperability. WMO also has responsibility for hydrology and collaborates strongly with UNESCO's International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) over marine matters.  

The Met Ocean DWG has created a strict Best Practice for specifying time and elevation in WMS 1.3 services, and are working on establishing an extension to the WCS 2.0 standards for serving truly 4D gridded data or various subsets. Many of the other OGC standards and aspects of them are of interest also, and the group has supplied demanding use cases to other OGC groups.

Observational standards will become increasingly important as more novel and crowd sourced data become useful and supplement the long established observational standards, practice and implementations in the WMO community.

Catalogue, discover, access and retrieval standards are important, too, as WMO has established a global distributed catalogue intended eventually to encompass all meteorological data, to increase the availability and flexibility of this global, and to large extent, public, resource.

Time is an important aspect of all meteorological data and services, both for the long, climatological and calendrical, term, and also for the short, precise, sub-second scale, so an OGC Temporal DWG has just been established. More on this in another article.

Openness and consensus have also been long established traditions of meteorology, so OGC's willingness to provide open discussion forums to a wider communities who are not formal members has been a very welcome and laudable attitude. There is still lots of work to do, so please join in!

Chris Little is IT Fellow - Operational Infrastructures at Met Office in the UK.