OGC’s Orléans TC Meeting: “Things coming together"

Rue Jeanne d'Arc and the Saint-Croix Cathedral in the beautiful city of Orléans, France.

Rue Jeanne d'Arc and the Saint-Croix Cathedral in the beautiful city of Orléans, France.


The end of any Technical Committee (TC) meeting marks the run-up to the next one, but before I look ahead to our future meeting, I’d like to do a bit of a synopsis of all that happened at OGC’s March TC meeting in Orléans, France.

OGC’s 106th TC Meeting was sponsored by BRGM (Bureau De Recherches Géologiques Et Minières) and Atos and held on 19-23 March, 2018, at the Orléans Conference Center, France. More than 180 people attended the meeting, with key standards leaders from industry, academia, and government.

Attendees of OGC’s 106th TC Meeting.
Attendees of OGC’s 106th TC Meeting.

I had the impression that this meeting was a particularly interesting one: a full agenda packed with the usual Working Group meetings also included a look at Future Directions, many ad hoc sessions, and two successful hackathons. Additionally, there were many long after-meeting conversations, and debates on how to do things.

The layout of the venue was such that meeting rooms were close by and participants had enough space to sit down and talk, meet, network, or help some of our new members find their way. This is always a crucial aspect of OGC’s TC Meetings: that attendees have the opportunity to interact with other members and discuss any manner of related (and many unrelated!) topics. In addition, Wednesday’s Open Day, organised by the French OGC Forum, saw a lot of extra attendees and an interesting agenda (PDF) - and led to a lot of good conversations between OGC members attending the TC and the audience of the Open Day.

A panel session from Wednesday’s open day.
A panel session from Wednesday’s open day. Photo courtesy of Marie-Françoise Voidrot @twitt_mfv.

The Opening Plenary featured a welcome from the sponsors followed by presentations from both BRGM and Atos. The two organizations highlighted their respective operations, as well as described their public-private partnership and use of geospatial standards in that context. The Opening Plenary then continued with a presentation from Eurisy describing the organization’s strategy to “connect space and society.”

One of the hosts, BRGM, giving their presentation at the opening plenary.
One of the hosts, BRGM, giving their presentation at the opening plenary.

For the uninitiated, an OGC ‘ad hoc’ session is where OGC members discuss the feasibility of standards work in a given space. They are a requirement before a new Domain or Standards Working Group can be formed. The Orléans TC included six ad hoc sessions to discuss possible standards work in the following areas: Blockchain; NAD (non-authoritative data in decision making aka crowdsourced data); EO Exploitation Platforms architecture (related to work carried out in Testbed 13, and feeding Testbed 14); JSON Best Practice; Interoperable Simulation & Gaming; and Statistics.

Attendees of the Earth Observation Platforms ad-hoc.
Attendees of the Earth Observation Platforms ad-hoc. Photo courtesy of Michael Gordon @G0rd82.

OGC is becoming more proactive in assessing emerging technologies as they apply to the geospatial community. Some technologies will directly impact geospatial standards and interoperability, and others lead to new operational environments that will drive requirements and use cases. As such, the Future Directions sessions at TC Meetings discuss emerging technologies relevant to OGC’s work. At Orléans, the session focussed on Autonomy and Autonomous Systems, and included presentations from some key organisations.

  • Iain Burnell from Dstl gave a presentation on the SAPIENT system for assisting human review of sensor feeds (usually video, but also including radar or thermal imaging) through autonomous fusion of various sensor streams and automated behavior recognition. The results of the work reduce the cognitive load on human operators of systems and reduce overall cost of sensor platforms.
  • Frank Michaud with the OpenFog Consortium provided an overview of the mission of that consortium and a clear description of the scope of “fog computing.” Fog Computing is defined as the computation that occurs between the Edge (e.g., devices such as mobile phones or IoT sensors) and the Cloud, and is performed in nodes of connected Edge devices. An excellent example was provided of autonomous vehicles communicating with local infrastructure node near those vehicles and sharing information between the vehicles through the local node.
  • Jeremy Morley with the Ordnance Survey (OS) updated the TC on the latest developments in the OS work in connected and autonomous vehicles, including data requirements for foundational information (such as roads and routing), and dynamically-collected information from the vehicle. He also presented the interesting case of how data collected on the vehicle could or would be used to update road, traffic, or weather information in real time, and also how massive datasets (such as LiDAR-collected point clouds) might be provided back to transportation authorities as the vehicle is “docked.”
  • Finally, George Percivall of the OGC presented a summary of the Edge-Fog-Cloud White Paper to be published by OGC. This paper describes the technology environment of these three domains and their intersections. The paper also outlines places where geospatial information and standards play a role in effective use and transition between the domains. The White Paper was approved by the TC for publication at the Closing Plenary, so keep your eyes peeled for its appearance on the OGC White Papers page soon.


The TC also played host to milestone events of two ‘hackathons’: the final judging and awards of the INSPIRE Hackathon (a quick summary video is available now with a more thorough overview coming soon), and the Kickoff for the Earth Observation (EO) Cloud Processing Hackathon. Participation in the EO Cloud Processing Hackathon is still possible, so if you know a thing or two about EO data and/or the deployment and execution of applications in cloud environments, please contact isimonis [at] opengeospatial.org (Ingo Simonis).


Some other exciting news to come from the TC is that OGC will be, in the near future, developing a Standards Roadmap. This will allow all of our standards work to be tracked through an online tool. This will make it easy for anyone to understand ‘where we’re at’ in terms of the development and planning of a new standard.


And finally, no TC meeting is complete without a reception dinner. The hosts organised an unforgettable evening reception at the beautiful Castle of Meung on the Loire river.


Despite French transport workers being on strike, affecting trains and flights and causing unnecessary stress for some participants, we all had a successful and interesting meeting, and OGC looks forward to welcoming you to the next meeting in June in Fort Collins, Colorado, or back in Europe in September in Stuttgart.


If you want to learn more about the happenings and outcomes of the Orléans TC, non-members can download the Closing Plenary public slides (142MB PDF), while members can access many meeting recordings and presentations via the OGC Portal. Tweets from the day can be found at #OGC18FR.

Readers are also encouraged to visit OGC’s GitHub page to participate in OGC related discussions, such as ideas for Testbed 15 and other Innovation Program Initiatives and future OGC TC meeting topics, or see our evolving OGC Technology Trends.


OGC staff at the Orléans Hotel Groslot d'Orleans as part of a special reception with Mayor Olivier Carré
OGC staff (from left: Bart De Lathouwer, Marie-Françoise Voidrot, Gobe Hobona, Terry Idol, Ingo Simonis, Luis Bermudez) at the Orléans Hotel Groslot d'Orleans as part of a special reception with Mayor Olivier Carré (photo courtesy of @fhoubie)