Looking Forward / Looking Back

Contributed by: 
Mark Reichardt, CEO & President OGC

As we transition into the 2017 New Year, I thank OGC members for their continuing contributions to improve location information sharing and interoperability.

By all accounts, 2016 was a successful year. OGC completed one of its largest interoperability testbeds to date – OGC Testbed 12, which pushed the limits on a range of topics from geospatial quality frameworks to aviation and compliance. With over 100 in attendance, the TB12 demonstration in late November provided sponsors and attendees with insight into the developments made throughout the testbed. TB12 produced more Engineering Reports and Guides (a new implementer oriented document) than any previous Testbed. Engineering Reports described advancements based on implementations in many areas including: new capabilities for Geopackage, refinements in Web Map Tiling Service (WMTS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) for Earth Observations; investigations in vector and raster tiling schemes; and various REST and JSON topics. Fundamental advancements were demonstrated in the General Feature Model.

Project activity in Europe continued to build with OGC Europe leading the H2020 ESPRESSO (systEmic Standardisation apPRoach to Empower Smart citieS and cOmmunities) project to empower Smart Cities through advancement of a standards enabled information framework, as well as supporting a NextGEOSS initiative which will advance a next generation hub for discovering, accessing and exploiting Earth Observation data. We also had some amazing progress in our consensus process with member dialog expanding in the areas of point clouds, the Internet of Things, integration of geospatial / civil engineering and the built environment, 3D visualization, and modeling and simulation. Further, we implemented a new community standards process that welcomes broadly implemented market technologies into the OGC for potential adoption. All these areas of interoperability emphasis are relevant and useful across many markets and domains of use, but they all converge as integrative capabilities to enable Smart and Resilient Cities.

The OGC Compliance Program continued to develop new tests and support an increasing number of certifications. New compliance tests made available in December 2016 included Catalogue (CAT) 3.0, GeoPackage 1.0 and the Web Map Tiling Service (WMTS) 1.0.

Looking forward, 2017 is also shaping up to be a great year. OGC Testbed 13 is underway and we expect to focus on a range of new topics – with a planned renovation of OGC Web Services, which will include a close look at evolving a set of OGC Essentials – more elemental components of OGC standards – to ease implementation, especially in the app developer world. We will be implementing streamlined ‘Implementer Guide’ versions of our OGC standards to make it easier for developers to support integration and implementation of our standards. A standards incubator is being stood up within our Standards Program to encourage new ideas and concepts to be advanced – with very little process overhead. As stated on the OGC website, the Incubator promotes community “prototypes that push the boundaries of our work and perhaps provide a pathway to future standards”. Several projects have already been initiated by contributors from the community.

We will continue to leverage our OGC Location Powers Summits to interact with the community on emerging topics, trends and challenges. Location Powers events bring together both private and public sector experts from across the globe to stimulate highly interactive, cross-community discussion and to shape industry guidance of value to the OGC process. Summits held in prior years covered topics such as Smart Cities, Sensor Web, and Geospatial Big Data. In 2017, OGC will be convening summits on Big Linked Geodata (March, 2017), Underground Infrastructure (June, 2017) and Agriculture (December 2017). Input from Location Powers summits help drive OGC’s direction in these and other areas.

Clearly, location has become an underpinning enabler across many markets and domains of use. OGC standards and best practices are enabling rapid mobilization of geospatial data and technologies into systems, enterprises, and the decision cycle. Much more opportunity lies ahead for OGC to help communities to benefit from the power of location.