25 March 2013 – The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) announced the establishment of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Forum during the 84th Technical and Planning Committee meetings held in March 2013 in Abu Dhabi last week, hosted by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of the Interior.
The MENA Forum will provide a platform for members to collaborate and meet the OGC outreach and education needs of government, academic, research and industry organizations in the region. In response to the growing interest and use of OGC standards throughout the region, the Ministry of the Interior hosted the OGC TC PC meetings to connect the existing OGC community to the region and to broaden awareness of the OGC within the Middle East. This is the first time the OGC Technical and Planning Committee meetings have been held in the Middle East.
The Law Enforcement and Public Safety Domain Working Group, Emergency and Disaster Management Domain Working Group and other OGC groups met in Abu Dhabi to discuss geospatial interoperability issues of regional and international importance. These issues include not only security and public safety, but also issues such as water resource management, urban planning and “Smart Cities”. A special Civil Summit was held during the week in partnership with buildingSMART International at which participants discussed new opportunities to improve information sharing between stakeholders in the civil engineering, geospatial and building information domains.
“Middle East involvement in the OGC's international process is important for a number of reasons,” explained Mark Reichardt, President of the OGC. “The OGC provides essential technical infrastructure for sharing location information, and our open process brings together important players from many different nations and professional domains. Our process focuses on using shared requirements to drive innovation and lower the barriers to information sharing. Our members – technology users and technology providers – have a shared interest in making our process a truly global process in which all regions advance by leveraging lessons learned and solutions developed in other regions.”
The OGC is an international consortium of more than 480 companies, government agencies, research organizations and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, mainstream IT, and wireless and location-based services. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at http://www.opengeospatial.org/contact.