Arctic Spatial Data Pilot

For more information please contact

The project has been concluded. Results are published on the OGC Website:


Pilot Overview

Organized by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the Pilot is sponsored by US Geological Survey and Natural Resources Canada. The Pilot supports US and Canada domestic priorities around open standards and interoperability. The Pilot supports the strategic goals of the Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure (Arctic SDI), a voluntary, multilateral cooperation between the 8 Arctic Countries’ National Mapping Agencies (including USGS and NRCan).

The Arctic SDP, an 18 month study, was initiated to demonstrate the diversity, richness and value of providing geospatial data using international standards in support of spatial data exchange. It will show how they help stakeholders to gain new perspectives into social, economic, and environmental issues by providing an online network of resources that improves the sharing, use, and integration of information tied to geographic locations in North America, the Arctic, and around the world. 

Taking the results from the study into account, the demonstration presented the results from a practical implementation study executed in 2016/17, where 12 OGC member organizations worked together to create case studies, implementations, reports, and videos that demonstrate the value of an SDI for the Arctic and help form a holistic view of an unique environment.


The Arctic Spatial Data Pilot (Arctic SDP) was initiated to demonstrate the diversity, richness and value of providing geospatial data using International Standards in support of Spatial Data infrastructures and how they help stakeholders to gain new perspectives into social, economic, and environmental issues, by providing an online network of resources that improves the sharing, use and integration of information tied to geographic locations in North America, the Arctic, and around the world. Further, pan-Arctic science, monitoring, and societal, economic, and environmental decision support are improved with increased data sharing. In a reciprocal process, the Arctic SDP will  help to generate a better understanding of how the national spatial data infrastructures can be developed and applied to support Arctic priorities. By implementing consistent means to share geographic data among all users, costs for collecting and using data can be significantly reduced while decision-making is enhanced. To be successful, the Arctic SDP has to take particular requirements into account; such as the unique environment it is located in with zero/low bandwidth at some places or the specific situation of the frontier economy. All those aspects are addressed by the OGC Interoperability Program project “Arctic Spatial Data Pilot”.

Started on December 3, 2015, the Arctic Spatial Data Pilot is sponsored by US Geological Survey and Natural Resources Canada, in collaboration with the Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure Participants. This pilot will demonstrate the value of standards in an environment that is principally built as a system of systems, i.e. an Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure that integrates a number of existing systems as well as individual services and data repositories.  Additionally, the results of this pilot will inform the Data and Technical Interoperability Objective of the Arctic SDI Strategic Plan 2015-2020. For additional information on the cooperative efforts of the National Mapping Agencies of the 8 Arctic countries to guide the development of an Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure, please visit the Arctic SDI website.

The project is executed in two phases, the first, completed as of May 9, was organized as an OGC concept development study, the second phase is being conducted as an OGC pilot activity. The OGC Concept Development Study and Pilot initiatives are part of the OGC Interoperability Program, a collaborative effort that applies the OGC Technical Baseline and other (non-OGC) technologies to sponsor scenarios.

For further information, please contact Dr. Ingo Simonis.

Phase 1 – OGC Concept Development Study

The project is split in two phases. Executed according to the policies and procedures of an OGC Concept Development, phase 1 develops an inventory of available geospatial Web services across the Arctic, which can be used to reflect a broad range of thematic data layers. In parallel, Phase 1 defines the core components of the Arctic SDI architecture. Both activities were complemented by a request for information (RFI), which is now complete with the publishing of the RFI Report. The purpose of the RFI was to elicit interest, know-how and experiences from industry, research institutions, and public administration in the context of informing Arctic SDI enhancement. All results serve as input for phase 2, which will be implemented as an OGC Interoperability Program Pilot activity. Further beyond, the Arctic Spatial Data Pilot phase 1 serves as direct input for the large-scale interoperability program initiative Testbed-12, where USGS has sponsored a thread that includes testing and service development in support of the Arctic Spatial Data Pilot.

Phase-1 Concept Development Report

The final report from phase 1, including the results from the Request for Information, is available online: 


Phase 2 – OGC Pilot Activity

The goal of Phase 2 is to articulate the value of interoperability and to demonstrate the usefulness of standards. This will be done by implementing the recommended Arctic SDI architecture along with a video that will tell the story of the scenario(s) and showcase incorporation of the services into the Arctic SDI Geoportal and other applications.

Phase 2 consists of an OGC Interoperability Pilot as described in the OGC Interoperability Pilot Policies and Procedures. OGC pilot projects apply and test OGC Standards in real world applications using Standards Based Commercial Off-The-Shelf (SCOTS) products that implement OGC Standards. Pilot projects are an opportunity for users to understand how to best address their requirements using standards-based architectures.

The OGC will develop a Request for Quotation / Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) to solicit proposals from industry in response to the set of requirements for the Arctic Spatial Data Pilot as defined in Phase 1. Depending on the funding made available by sponsors, the OGC, on behalf of the project sponsors, will provide cost-sharing funds to partially offset expenses uniquely associated with the initiative. However, not all proposals are expected to seek cost sharing. OGC intends to involve as many participants in the initiative as possible, to the extent each participant can enhance and/or make use of the initiative outcomes, so the solicitation is also open to participants wishing to advance the synergy of the overall initiative.

Phase 2 includes seven activities, starting with the development and publication of the RFQ/CFP. Responses get evaluated based on criteria developed as part of the planning and scoping towards the end of Phase 1. The OGC will manage this pilot phase in close cooperation with the sponsoring organizations to ensure maximum output and value. All results, experiences and issues will be captured and published in engineering reports made available to all pilot sponsors and participants.

All interoperability aspects will be discussed in the context of standards provided by the OGC, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 211 (TC211), or relevant technical committees of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and take into account further aspects from the INSPIRE (Infrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe) directive where appropriate.

All developments will acknowledge the intellectual property rights (IPR) policies defined by the OGC and available online. Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (the “OGC”) has adopted this Intellectual Property Rights Policy (the “Policy”) and related Policies and Procedures documents in order to minimize the possibility of inadvertent infringement of the IPR of Members and third parties using or implementing any OGC Standards. All Members, all Member Representatives, and all third parties attending any technical process meeting are subject to this Policy and the Policies and Procedures. Members and their Representatives are so bound under the terms of the OGC membership application, and all third parties shall be required to sign an appropriate acknowledgement of the foregoing as a precondition to participating in the OGC technical process. 

Completed activities


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and sponsors, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), in collaboration with the Arctic Spatial Data Infrastructure Participants, announce a Request for Quotation (RFQ) and Call for Participation (CFP) in the OGC Interoperability Program’s Arctic Spatial Data Pilot Phase-2 (Arctic SDP) initiative (see Press Release). The purpose of this Request for Quotation and Call for Participation is to solicit proposals in response to a set of requirements for the OGC Arctic Spatial Data Pilot Interoperability Program (IP) initiative. The RFQ has been released May 25, 2016. It is available online: ArcticSDP RFQ full packageResponses have been due: 17 June 2016.

It is strongly recommended that interested readers also review the authoritative Clarifications document, available online. If you have any further questions, please send an email to A Questions & Answers Webinar that allowed participants to post questions into a chat window took place on 3 June 2016, at 09:00 AM EDT. The recordings from this session are available online


The Request for Information (RFI) for this pilot has been completed. The final report is available online, see Phase-1 Report above. For reference, the RFI original text is still available online (download the RFI; see press release).

Our partners

We represent over 500 businesses, government agencies, research organizations, and universities united with a desire to make location information FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

Sign up today

Receive the latest news on OGC.

© 2024 Open Geospatial Consortium. All Rights Reserved.

Become a memberBecome a member