Wayland, MA, May 18, 2001, The Open GIS Consortium (OGC) announced today the successful launch of its Military Pilot Project Initiative, Phase 1 (MPP-1). MPP-1, which began April 5 and will run through September 2001, has been organized to test and exercise newly developed OGC specifications in a near-operational user environment. At the end of a Pilot, major customers will see real world proof of interoperability between software products from different vendors enabled by interfaces implementing OpenGIS Specifications.MPP-1 is a collaborative effort that tests the interoperability of commercial geoprocessing products in the defense and intelligence domain. Findings contribute to the refinement of the OpenGIS® Specifications that define the products' interoperability interfaces. For example, MPP-1 will help enhance OpenGIS Specifications to accommodate three-dimensional photo-realistic terrain views over the Internet. The Initiative's sponsors, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) and In-Q-Tel, have provided funding and operational requirements for the pilot. Cubewerx, Intergraph, Skyline Software, Syncline, Lockheed Martin, Compusult, University of Alabama in Huntsville, 3i, Ionic Software, Polexis, and Laser-Scan have been selected to participate in MPP-1 by providing technology solutions that adhere to Sponsor requirements and employ OGC interfaces.In MPP-1, users simulate defense and intelligence operations that access online intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data sources via restricted access intranets and the Internet. The emphasis is on expanding users' ability to discover, visualize, and add value to geodata by expanding their network of web-based interoperable geoprocessing resources.MPP-1 exercises many of the open interfaces developed in OGC's Web Mapping Testbeds. In recent months many vendors have released commercial products that implement these interfaces, increasing a users' ability to find and immediately use data that was previously unavailable because of differences between geoprocessing systems. Open interfaces remove many barriers to data and GIS service use.A growing number of US Department of Defense Coordinating Organizations and projects are becoming involved in MPP-1. Coordinating Organizations are using software “toolkits” to access a restricted section of OGCN, OGC's new OGCNetwork web resource. OGCN is an online forum for information exchange and a portal to on-line resources such as servers, service registries, clients, schemas, DTD's (digital instructions for interpreting and presenting XML-encoded geospatial data, i.e. OGC's GML), tutorials, reusable software components, user documentation, and links to related sites. Many military Coordinating Organizations currently use commercial products that vendors are now “opening up” with interfaces that implement OpenGIS Specifications. This makes it easy for these organizations to connect to MPP-1's network of spatial resources. Knowledge gained in the Pilot will enable Coordinating Organizations to continue testing and deploying interoperable products after MPP-1 ends.Dan Specht, Project Manager at TEC representing ERDC in MPP-1, said, “The testbed process we use in MPP-1 is an extremely cost-effective way to develop interoperable software in the short run, and we believe that it will result in lower maintenance costs in the long run.”The companies providing technology and expertise for MPP-1 all share the objective of making their products work smoothly with other vendors' products in a heterogeneous network environment. They all share the ultimate goal of selling their products and services broadly, to civil government and commercial customers as well as military customers.OGC seeks additional public sector and private sector sponsors to participate in current and planned Interoperability Initiatives. New proposals are welcomed.OGC is an international industry consortium of over 200 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available, widely implemented geoprocessing interface and protocol specifications. These standards “geo-enable” the Web and mainstream IT, enabling 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 –“