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OGC PUCK standard enables `plug and work` sensor networks

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Release Date: 
30 January 2012

30 January 2012 - The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) membership has voted to adopt the candidate OGC PUCK Protocol Standard ( ).

Most sensor networks require careful manual installation and configuration by technicians to assure that software components are properly associated with the physical instruments that they represent. Instrument driver software, configuration files, and metadata describing the instrument and its capabilities must be manually installed and associated with a physical instrument port. Sometimes these manual procedures must be performed under physically challenging conditions, increasing the chances of human error. PUCK addresses these challenges by defining a standard instrument protocol to retrieve metadata and other information from the device itself. This information can include OGC SWE SensorML and IEEE 1451 Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS) documents, as well as actual instrument driver code. Computers on the network can use the PUCK protocol to retrieve this information from installed instruments and utilize it appropriately, e.g. to automatically identify, configure and operate the instruments. Thus PUCK enables automatic self-configuring "plug-and-work" sensor networks. 

The PUCK standard is relatively simple, and several manufacturers have already implemented the protocol in their instruments' firmware. PUCK augments but doesn't replace existing instrument command sets, so it can be implemented without abandoning existing firmware and software applications.

PUCK was originally developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) for oceanographic applications, but is useful in any sensor network containing RS232 or Ethernet-connected instruments. PUCK-enabled instruments have been deployed on ocean observatories in the USA and Europe, and the protocol is being considered for adoption by other projects as well. With the approval by the OGC membership of the OGC PUCK Protocol Standard, and with the OGC Technical Committee's PUCK Standards Working Group in place to provide future support, the PUCK standard is expected to be adopted by an even wider sensor community.

To learn more about PUCK, please visit the following pages:

To provide comments about the OGC PUCK Protocol Standard to the OGC PUCK Standards Working Group, go to

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 440 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC Standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC Standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at