Washington- The Location Interoperability Forum (LIF) and the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) have entered into an agreement to work together on a program of jointly supported market development activities designed to benefit the IT and telecommunications communi-ties. The agreement is a significant step forward for wireless communications as the worlds of telecommunications (LIF) and Internet (OGC) join forces in order to address interoperability issues and accelerate time to market of location-based services.Soon more people will use internet-connected mobile phones to navigate city streets, find the closest restaurant, and obtain real-time traffic information. What enables these useful applica-tions is the behind the scenes software standards for transmitting, manipulating and displaying geospatial information, including the physical location of mobile phones and other devices. The cooperation between LIF and OGC will bring industry consensus on location-based ser-vices standards and ensure “Plug and Play” functionality for subscribers.LIF members have been working on an open standard interface, called the Mobile Location Protocol, which facilitates the exchange of location information between the mobile network and Internet-based application irrespective of the underlying air interface and positioning methods. LIF members include a mix of mobile phone manufacturers, wireless carriers and infrastructure providers.Members of the OGC, including commercial software developers, integrators, carriers and IT infrastructure suppliers, tackle a wide variety of interoperability issues in the location applica-tion area. OGC's Open Location Services (OpenLS) Initiative, currently underway, aims to develop candidate interface specifications in support of interoperable location application ser-vices to be made available through mobile terminals and to develop multi-vendor, specifica-tion-based mobile demonstrations of these interfaces in action.”As the Web and Mobile worlds are converging, the industry is facing major interoperability challenges that can only be solved by cooperative relationships among industry leaders. Our relationship with OGC demonstrates LIF's commitment to addressing theses challenges,” said Bilal Saleh, LIF chairman of the Board.The two organizations are considering a variety of ways to share in the growth of interopera-bility brought about through mobile positioning. Possible projects include the development of mutually supporting technical architectures and testing approaches as well as joint marketing and communications including combined trade show attendance and industry outreach activi-ties. In addition, the two organizations will now be able to share certain information so that the standards process is solidified. OGC and LIF will be making future announcements about specific events and activities including co-sponsoring the OpenLS Forum in June 2002.”OGC and LIF complement each other, they clearly have common goals. We are pleased to join forces with the lead organization in geospatial interoperability and believe that members of both organizations will gain insight to each other's competencies.,” said Bilal Saleh, LIF chairman of the Board.David Schell, OGC President, agreed, “This agreement represents an affirmation of our mu-tual objectives for open systems solutions, and is a positive step toward broadening under-standing and participation in LIF and OGC programs. Through this partnership, we fully ex-pect that the telecommunications community will better appreciate and support the important role that both our organizations play to advance open systems solutions for geospatial and lo-cation based services markets that are so important in addressing consumer, business and government requirements.”About Location Interoperability Forum (LIF)The Location Interoperability Forum, a global industry initiative, was formed jointly by Erics-son, Motorola and Nokia in September 2000 with the purpose of developing and promoting common and ubiquitous solutions for Mobile Location Services (MLS). The LIF recommen-dations will be network protocol and positioning technology independent.Location based services will allow mobile users to receive personalized and lifestyle-oriented services relative to their geographic location. Mobile Location Services are predicted to be-come one of the most compelling value-added services, allowing wireless appliance users to combine mobility with the Internet. More than 100 organizations have already joined LIF. For further information please visit www.locationforum.org.About Open GIS Consortium (OGC)OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agen-cies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geo-processing specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web 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 –“