Wayland, MA, August 4, 2005 – The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) and COMCARE, a national non-profit alliance dedicated to advancing emergency response, signed a Memorandum of Understanding setting the terms of an agreement to work together to define a program of activities supporting the missions of both organizations.”This is an outstanding opportunity for two organizations with significantly overlapping missions to work together,” said Mark Reichardt, president of OGC. “Standards organizations need to recognize where it is appropriate to collaborate and then actively engage if they are to be effective.”COMCARE Managing Director, Judith Woodhall said, “The partnership between COMCARE and OGC could not be timelier. We both believe in the adoption of open standards to exchange information across professional, jurisdictional, and geographic lines. OpenGIS® specifications enable different technologies to share geographic data, which is especially important to EPAD, since queries based on geography will come from a variety of software systems.”An initial focus will be collaboration on the architecture for COMCARE's Emergency Provider Access Directory (EPAD) in the context of NEARS. NEARS is a cooperative effort to demonstrate and deploy interoperable emergency data messaging. EPAD gives agencies the ability to register to receive emergency messages based on their geography, incident interest and agency type. This enables any authorized official to send emergency messages in the most efficient and effective way possible.COMCARE promotes modern, interoperable emergency systems, and the development of new procedures, training, and tools to maximize value for emergency responders. COMCARE encourages cooperation across professional, jurisdictional and geographic lines, and works to integrate the emergency response professions, government, private industry and the public. COMCARE's 100+ organizational members represent the wide diversity of the emergency response community. For more information visit www.comcare.org.The OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 280 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. The specifications empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org.”