July 23, 2004, Wayland, Massachusetts. At the OGC's 50th Technical Committee meeting this month in Southampton, UK, two new Technical Committee working groups were formed: the Geospatial Digital Rights Management Working Group (GeoDRM WG) and the University Working Group (University WG).GeoDRM Working GroupAs geographic content becomes widely available over ubiquitous networks, it becomes easier to distribute, share, copy and alter that data. Many organizations involved in the production and trading of geodata need to protect their rights to the data.The GeoDRM WG will develop a system of operating agreements and interoperable technologies to enable broader use of geodata while protecting the rights of producers and users. In particular, the group will identify, develop, and validate a standards environment for the protection of spatial data ownership rights. There has been a debate in the geospatial community on the topic of rights, and the GeoDRM WG aims to provide a forum for discussion and a framework for technical solutions.GeoDRM chair Graham Vowles of the UK Ordnance Survey said of this new working group, “The GeoDRM Working Group will make it possible to build a viable business based on Web accessible geospatial data and services.”University Working GroupAcademic institutions from 26 nations constitute approximately one third of the OGC's 260 members. The new University Working Group will work to increase participation of universities in the Consortium and strengthen their role by forming an academic advisory group, expanding universities' role in advancing spatial data infrastructures globally, and working to make geoprocessing interoperability a part of the research agenda, methods and curricula of university GIScience and computer science departments globally.The chair of the University Working Group, Ingo Simonis of the University of Muenster, in Germany, said, “This is an exciting time for the OGC's academic members. Adopted OpenGIS(R) Specifications are being used in a rapidly increasing number of academic applications as their value becomes apparent to researchers, instructors and university-based software developers. At the same time there has never been a larger number of pending specifications and emerging interoperability research areas to engage researchers within the OGC.”The OGC is an international voluntary consensus standards organization of 260 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing interface specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT.– end –“