Jersey City, NJ, December 21, 2006 – On December 7 and 8 at an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, members of the Open Geospatial Consortium Inc. (OGC) demonstrated systems with open interfaces supporting an emergency response to a hypothetical 'dirty bomb' incident. The demonstration showed the results of the OGC's fourth successful OGC Web Services test bed activity (OWS-4). The audience consisted mainly of high level decision makers involved in disaster management.

The objective of OWS-4, which began in June, 2006, was to collaboratively demonstrate and extend a set of OGC specifications and show their value in providing access to multiple sources of geospatial information in decision support activities.

In the test bed scenario, a dirty bomb explodes at a wharf in the New York City area, causing injuries and a plume of dangerous radioactivity. Emergency managers and first responders use a variety of Web-based geospatial information systems to help manage evacuations, find a building suitable to contain an emergency decontamination and hospital unit, and track victims. The scenario is fictional, but the Web-based systems demonstrated live at the demo event were mainly commercial off-the-shelf systems employing the OGC's open specifications for geospatial interfaces and encodings. Many of these open standards have been adopted by the OGC membership as OpenGIS® Specifications and are already in wide use in geospatial products. Others are working prototypes of new specifications that have not yet been adopted.

The range of technologies and activities employing OGC approved or draft specifications included: sensor webs; building information models (BIMs) that integrate CAD, GIS and other information about buildings and structures; control of NASA earth imaging satellites; access to a wide variety of Web resident raster and vector geodata and geoprocessing services; geospatial digital rights management (GeoDRM); location services; and service chaining in decision support workflows. In many of the use cases, it was necessary to put these technologies in the service of people who have little or no knowledge of the technologies. OWS-4 also extended the OGC compliance testing program.

OWS-4 was an Interoperability Initiative in the OGC Interoperability Program, a global, innovative, collaborative, hands-on engineering and testing program designed to deliver proven, tested specifications into the OGC Specification Development Program. OGC Interoperability Initiatives include test beds, pilot projects and interoperability experiments.

The OGC plans to launch and manage a fifth OWS test bed activity in 2007. Contact George Percivall at for details.

The OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 335 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGIS(R) 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”