Wayland, MA, January 31, 2005 – The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the NIBS (National Institute of Building Sciences) IAI-NA (North American Chapter of the International Alliance for Interoperability) Council jointly announced their formal agreement to work together.David A. Harris, FAIA, NIBS President explained, “As digital technologies become increasingly important in design and construction, city planning, disaster response, security, transportation and environmental management, so does the need for interoperability among systems used in these activities. Design technologies, such as CADD, and geospatial technologies need to efficiently transition between their separate environments. The technical barriers that have kept them apart are seriously hampering productivity and efficiency. We look forward to advancing the standards framework necessary to bring these disciplines closer together.”An initial focus is likely to be creation of an ifcXML- ifcGML model to improve the sharing of IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) models between the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) and geospatial communities. IAI developed the IFC to facilitate interoperability in the building industry. IFC models include not just tangible components such as walls and furniture, but also concepts such as activities, spaces, and costs. OGC's GML (Geography Markup Language) is one of the standards developed in OGC's consensus process to facilitate interoperability when dealing with geospatial technologies such as GIS (geographic information systems), GPS (global positioning system), aerial and satellite imaging, location services, sensor webs, facilities management and others.Mark Reichardt, OGC's President noted, “This agreement paves the way for our two organizations to jointly investigate areas for standards development, harmonization, outreach and education. The interoperability imperative requires establishing such agreements to help consortia reach out beyond their mission specialties to more effectively address enterprise level challenges.”Thomas Gay, a member of the IAI Board of Directors and Assistant Vice President and Manager of FM Global's Engineering Plan Services, said, “The state of technology, as it currently exists, is very good yet increasingly more specialized. It is becoming increasingly important that interoperability be improved not only between vendors but between technologies as well. No one technology, not CAD, GIS, Imaging nor Data systems, can cover the whole spectrum in today's business environment. These systems must truly work efficiently across platforms for businesses to effectively use them and gain competitive advantage. This agreement between the OGC and NIBS/IAI-NA is an important step in the process of making this happen and we look forward to removing the technical barriers that have kept them apart.”Authorized by Congress in 1974, NIBS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that brings together public and private representatives of the building community sectors and consumer interests to address a variety of facility- and infrastructure-related needs and concerns. Since 1995, the International Alliance for Interoperability, known as IAI, has worked to develop and promote use of global standards for the automated exchange of data among computer applications such as CADD, cost estimating, permitting, scheduling, and O&M software.The OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 270 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.”