Wayland, MA, USA, December 12, 2001 – The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announces that Community Access to Natural Resources Information (CANRI) has joined the OGC Web Services Initiative (OWS). OWS is part of OGC's Interoperability Program, which aims to build an evolutionary, standards-based framework that will enable seamless integration of a variety of online geoprocessing and location services. CANRI is responsible for providing key environmental information over the Web from government agencies and other organizations in New South Wales, Australia.CANRI works closely with Australia New Zealand Land Information Council (ANZLIC), proponents of the Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure (ASDI). ASDI provides a framework that will allow spatial data of all types to be widely used across all sectors of the Australian community. CANRI and the ASDI Technical Working Group will join 26 other public, private and educational institutions to work on the Web Services Initiative.Jonathan Doig of CANRI notes, “The OWS offers a strategic opportunity to extend the CANRI framework and build the first stage of the Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure. Alignment with national initiatives is assured because the ASDI Technical Working Group will be directly involved through CANRI's sponsorship in the OWS testbed.”Some 50 countries worldwide are working to establish compatible Spatial Data Infrastructures that are helping to establish a Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI, http://www.gsdi.org ) according to the GSDI Secretariat. Participation in worldwide interoperability initiatives like those of the OGC can help further advance a distributed global system for search, discovery, access, exchange and application of geospatial data and services. According to Mr. Doig, “In this way we are contributing to and taking advantage of an ever-growing global information infrastructure to support improved understanding and management of our precious natural resources.”The CANRI Program provides information products tailored for community-based local and regional environmental management in New South Wales. It is the first program of its kind to offer integrated access to maps and other data held at various Internet sites by a diverse group of natural resource agencies and other stakeholders. More information is available at http://www.canri.nsw.gov.au/ .OGC is an international industry consortium of over 225 companies, government agencies 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, and empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Visit the OGC website at www.opengeospatial.org .– end –“