Wayland, MA, February 1, 2002 – The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced today that Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), through the GeoConnections national initiative, has upgraded its OGC membership to the Principal level. The change of membership status reflects the organization's commitment to geospatial interoperability.NRCan is a Canadian federal government department specializing in building and maintaining the national land and resources knowledge base for sustainable development. GeoConnections, led by NRCan, is a national partnership initiative bringing government, industry and academia together to build the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI). The goal of the CGDI is to make Canada's geospatial databases, tools and services readily accessible on-line. OGC implementation specifications have been adopted as an integral part of the CGDI.As a Principal Member, NRCan/GeoConnections will participate and vote in the OGC Technical Committee as well as the OGC Planning Committee. The Planning Committee provides a management structure for the OGC specification process. It also provides direction to the Technical Committee and is responsible for the design and approval of the OGC Business Architecture, Technology Roadmap and the Interface Development Schedule.NRCan/GeoConnections has been a longtime member of OGC and has sponsored two Interoperability Initiatives, the completed Web Mapping Phase II, and the current OGC Web Services Initiative (OWS-1). OGC activities and standards continue to play a key role in the GeoConnections initiative in Canada.”OGC activities and standards are making an important contribution to the GeoConnections program in Canada,” according to Jeff Labonte, GeoConnections Director. “Participation on the Planning Committee affords us critical input into the planning of these activities. OGC implementation specifications have been adopted as an integral part of the CGDI and as a result, GeoConnections/NRCan is now a key supporter of the OGC and Canadian firms are active leaders in the development and implementation of these important international specifications.”OGC President David Schell commented, “The OGC benefits immensely from GeoConnections/NRCan's commitment to the OGC. Canada's leading role in setting standards around OGC specifications underscores the importance of interoperability for the rest of the world.”OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 225 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 –“