Wayland, MA, June 4, 2002 – The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) upgraded its membership level from Principal Member to Strategic Member. NASA has been a member of OGC since it's founding in 1994. NASA recognized the importance of OGC's role in advancing interoperability in a consensus forum, and provided OGC with initial funding to start operations through a Cooperative Agreement Notice entitled “Public Use of Earth and Space Science Data Over the Internet”.Recently, NASA formed the Geospatial Interoperability Office (GIO) to better “enable government, industry, scientists and citizens to gain knowledge or make decisions through application of geospatial information”. GIO holds the OGC membership for NASA and coordinates participation in OGC activities. Myra Bambacus, Program Manager of the GIO, noted that “geospatial interoperability is critically important in enabling applications through seamless access to NASA's Earth Science Data. We look forward to collaborating with the Consortium on mutual goals and setting a strategic approach for meeting the spatial technology interoperability needs of the global community.”NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) goal to “develop advanced information technologies for processing, archiving, accessing, visualizing, and communicating Earth science data” is consistent with OGC's vision. ESE related projects including the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), the Earth Science Information Partnership (ESIP) federation, the Digital Earth program, the Globe Program, the Earth Science Technology Office and the Geographic Interoperability Office take advantage of the results of OGC programs.As a Strategic Member, NASA will contribute significant in-kind support, providing, for example, specification revisions, discussion papers, proposals, and tutorials, as well as chairing Working Groups and Special Interest Groups. NASA will work with other members to help guide OGC in directions that result in broader user choice of geoprocessing products in the marketplace and improved opportunities for industry to meet the varied and complex needs of government.OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing 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 –“