Wayland, MA, April 14, 2004 – The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) announced the successful completion of the Emergency Mapping Symbology (EMS) Testbed. The project, begun in January 2004, enhanced and tested OpenGIS® Specifications that enable the use of multiple symbol sets with one set of geospatial feature data. After the enhanced specifications are adopted by the OGC and implemented in interoperating software products, different emergency management agencies who use different symbol sets and different software will be able to share data and yet display it using symbols that may be familiar only within one agency.The EMS Initiative matured the OGC's specification framework for interoperable geographic symbolization while simultaneously testing emerging standard map symbol sets for emergency response developed by national-level agencies. The main OpenGIS Specifications involved in the testbed are the Style Management Service (SMS) and the Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) specifications. The effort employed the Emergency Response Map Symbology (ERMS) set being defined by the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Homeland Security Work Group.Three Canadian companies — CubeWerx, Galdos, and Compusult — were the participating companies. Sponsors included GeoConnections and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In the testbed, vendors, users, and others worked together to define services, interfaces and protocols in the context of a hands-on engineering effort. Sponsors provided cost-sharing funds to partially offset the development costs.About GeoConnectionsGeoConnections, a national partnership initiative led by Natural Resources Canada, is working to build the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI), which is making Canada's geospatial databases, tools and services readily accessible on-line. GeoConnections includes several programs, advisory committees and communities of practice, two of which — the GeoInnovations program and the Emergency Response and Critical Infrastructure Advisory Node — are involved in the EMS-1 project. GeoConnections is pleased to be a sponsor of the EMS-1 project, an extension of the CIPI initiative, as it engages an end-user community in technology testing activities that develop various capacities and abilities to use geospatial information for emergency situations. For more information on GeoConnections and the CGDI, visit www.geoconnections.org.About the OGCThe OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 250 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 www.opengeospatial.org.###– end –“