Sensor Web Enablement (SWE)


The OGC's Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) standards enable developers to make all types of sensors, transducers and sensor data repositories discoverable, accessible and useable via the Web.

SWE Overview: Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) Overview


SWE standards are developed and maintained by OGC members who participate the OGC Technical Committee's Sensor Web Enablement Working Group .

SWE offers integrators:

  • Open interfaces for sensor web applications
  • "Hooks" for IEEE 1451, TML, CAP, WS-N, ASAP
  • Imaging device interface support
  • Opportunity to participate in an open process to shape standards
  • Sensor location tied to geospatial standards
  • Fusion of sensor data with other spatial data
  • Ties to IEEE and other standards organizations

Sensor technology, computer technology and network technology are advancing together while demand grows for ways to connect information systems with the real world. Linking diverse technologies in this fertile market environment, integrators are offering new solutions for plant security, industrial controls, meteorology, geophysical survey, flood monitoring, risk assessment, tracking, environmental monitoring, defense, logistics and many other applications.

The SWE effort involves OGC members in developing the global framework of standards and best practices that make linking of diverse sensor related technologies fast and practical. Standards make it possible to put the pieces together in an efficient way that protects earlier investments, prevents lock-in to specific products and approaches, and allows for future expansion. Standards also influence the design of new component products. Business needs drive the process. Technology providers and solutions providers need to stay abreast of these evolving standards if they are to stay competitive.

OGC Standards
The main adopted or pending OGC Standards in the SWE framework include:

    • Observations & Measurements (O&M) –The general models and XML encodings for observations and measurements.
    • PUCK Protocol Standard – Defines a protocol to retrieve a SensorML description, sensor "driver" code, and other information from the device itself, thus enabling automatic sensor installation, configuration and operation. 
    • Sensor Model Language (SensorML) – Standard models and XML Schema for describing the processes within sensor and observation processing systems.
    • Sensor Observation Service (SOS) – Open interface for a web service to obtain observations and sensor and platform descriptions from one or more sensors.
    • Sensor Planning Service (SPS) – An open interface for a web service by which a client can 1) determine the feasibility of collecting data from one or more sensors or models and 2) submit collection requests.
    • SWE Common Data Model – Defines low-level data models for exchanging sensor related data between nodes of the OGC® Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) framework.
    • SWE Service Model ­– Defines data types for common use across OGC Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) services. Five of these packages define operation request and response types.

    Other SWE standards are under discussion or in various stages of development.

    The OGC and Sensors
    The OGC® is an international industry consortium of more than 330 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards.
    The OGC has become involved in the sensor web standards effort because this technology domain needs standards that address a broad set of critical real world information interoperability demands, including information about location. OGC members have reached agreement on the most of the issues involving digital communication about location, motion, coordinate systems, spatial operations, raster and vector representations of features and phenomena, etc. Many of the major software vendors, solution providers and government members who want sensor web standards were already involved in the OGC consensus process. And the OGC has demonstrated its ability to facilitate a process in which members can rapidly develop, test and validate standards and harmonize them with standards from other standards organizations.
    Key components of the OGC standards process are the OGC Innovation Program, the OGC Specification Program and the OGC Network:

    • The OGC Innovation Program (IP) is a global, hands-on and collaborative prototyping program designed to rapidly develop, test and deliver proven candidate standards into OGC's Specification Program, where they are formalized for public release. OGC Innovation Program Initiatives include test beds, pilot projects, and interoperability experiments
    • The OGC Specification Program provides an effective and well-trusted industry consensus process to plan, review and officially adopt OGC Standards for interfaces, encodings and protocols that enable interoperable services, data, and applications. The Specification Program consists of two primary organizational units, the OGC Technical Committee (TC) and the OGC Planning Committee (PC).
    • The OGCNetwork TM is an online infrastructure of Internet-accessible, configuration-controlled components that implement OGC Standards. The OGC Network is a network of networks. It is the place to find technical documents, test suites, training materials, reference implementations and other resources to support wide deployment of OGC Standards.

    Participate in SWE

    Public sector and private sector organizations are encouraged to participate in SWE development.


    Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
    Phone: +1 (508) 655-5858
    outreach [at]
    George Percivall
    Executive Director, Interoperability Architecture
    Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
    Phone: (301) 560-6439
    gpercivall [at]