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The Open Geospatial Consortium's Web Map Service (WMS) Approved as International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard

Sam Bacharach Executive Director, Outreach and Community Adoption Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc tel: +1-703-352-3938 sbacharach [at]
Release Date: 
9 December 2005
Wayland, Mass., December 8, 2005 - The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc (OGC®) through its work with ISO announces that its OpenGIS® Web Map Service (WMS) Implementation Specification is now available as ISO 19128, a standard titled "IS 19128:2005 Geographic information - Web map server interface." The OGC version of this standard is being prepared and will be posted to the OGC website soon. The standard "specifies the behaviour of a service that produces spatially referenced maps dynamically from geographic information" and is already widely implemented in software products across the globe. Professionals and consumers use the standard as a key enabler to create hundreds of thousands of maps on the World Wide Web. ISO is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards bodies. Founded in 1947, the non-governmental organization produces world-wide industrial and commercial standards. ISO standards are voluntary, although some governments and agencies enforce their use for specific areas. The European Union, for example, has mandated the use of ISO standards in all application areas. International organizations such as NATO already require adherence to OGC specifications in their tenders; it's expected many other organizations will follow suit and require adherence to IS 19128. OGC has been working with ISO Technical Committee (TC) 211 on Geographic Information/Geomatics for several years to insure the standard meets the needs of the international community by addressing and reconciling different perspectives. Participants in the process include governments, commercial companies, non-governmental organizations, universities and research institutions, and the public. WMS is not the first OGC specification to become an ISO standard. The OpenGIS Simple Features Implementation Specification reached the same status in 2004. Two other specifications, the OpenGIS Web Feature Service (WFS) Implementation Specification and the OpenGIS Filter Encoding Implementation Specification are in the process to become ISO standards with OpenGIS Web Coverage Service (WCS) Implementation Specification and OpenGIS Catalog Service (WCS) Implementation Specification expected to follow. "The adoption of WMS as an ISO standard is a key step to creating the Spatial Web," explains OGC President Mark Reichardt. "Through the close, formal partnership maintained between OGC and ISO, organizations large and small can be assured consistent guidance with respect to industry and international standards to enable flexible, dynamic Web mapping. ISO adoption of WMS further enables a new level of worldwide information sharing." The OGC® is an international industry consortium of more than 290 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. The specifications empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Visit the OGC website at