OGC API Hackathon 2019 - How it went!


Several technologies and practices have emerged over the past decade that have presented new opportunities for geospatial software developers. Amongst those technologies are Web APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). In order to leverage the capabilities offered by these technologies, OGC has initiated a body of work to develop draft standards for OGC APIs. At the February 2019 OGC Technical Committee (TC) meeting in Singapore, the TC took a decision to hold a hackathon to help advance many of the draft OGC API standards. Some additional background information on OGC APIs and the evolution of OGC standards can be found in our recent blog post.

The OGC API Hackathon was held from June 20th to 21st, 2019, and hosted by Geovation in London, UK. The European Space Agency (ESA), Ordnance Survey and Geovation sponsored the event. The hackathon was also supported by the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). The goal of the hackathon was to advance the development of OGC API specifications by providing an environment and opportunity for the geospatial community to collaborate and work together.

More than 70 individuals participated in the event. The participants represented 60 organizations: 41 of those organizations are OGC members; one of the organizations is an OGC Alliance Partner, and the remaining 18 organizations are non-members. Working collaboratively, the participants formed teams around the draft standards to develop, deploy, and test a variety of implementations of OGC APIs. These implementations were from different organizations, including private, public, and academic organizations.

Suggestions for improvements were made and, in some cases, editors of the standards were able to update the draft standards during the hackathon. Improvements to the common core were discussed and, where possible, agreed on. The work that had previously been done was validated through development and testing. Where the previous work was invalid, suggestions for improvements were identified. Requirements and recommendations were discussed and documented as rules and guidance in the OGC Github repositories of the draft standards. The hackathon therefore achieved its goal.

It is envisaged that the output of the hackathon will be instrumental to the evolution of OGC web service standards to a modern API-based approach, setting the course for open geospatial standards for the next decade. The output should lead to a solid, common core and advancement of a whole new generation of OGC standards that are flexible in modern IT environments. This does not mean that existing OGC web service standards will fade away. Instead, it means that a new suite of OGC standards will give developers and users the option of leveraging capabilities offered by Web APIs.

You can follow along from the tweets of the day, or any further OGC API news at the hashtag: #OGCAPI