Wayland, MA, January 10, 2003 – The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) recently launched its Conformance and Interoperability Test and Evaluation Initiative (CITE). CITE is the first of a series of initiatives addressing interoperability verification and validation. The expected outcome is an OGC-approved process by which software vendors can test and validate their products' conformance with OGC's Web-based OpenGIS(R) Specifications. OpenGIS Specifications specify common interfaces, encodings and schemas that support the development and deployment of interoperable geospatial solutions, services, data, and applications.David Schell, President of OGC, said, “We are fortunate to have The Open Group as part of this talented team of technologists developing a process to test and validate products that implement OpenGIS Specifications. Procurements involving open access to spatial services and data can soon be based on clear interoperability requirements and assurances.”””The CITE project is a major step forward in bringing the technology community together to achieve the goal of realizing the Spatial Web,” said Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group. “This project demonstrates the commitment of OGC and The Open Group to bring organizations together for the benefit of the industry as a whole.”The OGC Interoperability Program and the OGC Specification Program are currently focused on OpenGIS(R) Specifications for OGC Web Services (OWS). OGC Web Services support discovery of, access to, and integration of diverse kinds of geographic or “spatial” data and geoprocessing services such as those produced by GIS systems and systems for Earth imaging. OpenGIS specifications are publicly available at http://www.opengeospatial.org. As producers of geoprocessing products modernize their offerings based on OpenGIS Specifications, users require verification of a vendor's product conformance with OpenGIS Specifications. The CITE initiative provides a clear path to assure them of the products' interoperability with other spatial servers and clients.Validating conformance to an OpenGIS Specification means verifying that a software product has implemented the specified interface or schema correctly. This is done by testing the software for response and behavior mandated in the specification. The CITE Initiative is intended to provide a methodology, tools and a testing framework that meet the developers' need to distinguish their products from non-conformant products and the buyers' need for guarantees of interoperability.Timothy G. Pasierb, Manager, Production Operations, Northrop Grumman Information Technology TASC, said “Northrop Grumman Information Technology TASC is pleased to collaborate with the OGC and an international community of distinguished companies to address one of the most difficult issues facing the geospatial industry. The end result of the CITE initiative brings the community a step closer in achieving interoperability between vendor neutral application services and seamless access to geospatial information.”Participants and participant teams include: The Open Group (US); Galdos Systems (Canada); Northrop Grumman Information Technology TASC (US), a team of Sinclair Knight Merz (Australia) and Social Change Online (Australia); a team of the Open Planning Project (US), the Center for Computational Geography at the University of Leeds (UK), lat/lon (Germany), National Center for Atmospheric Research (US), Universitat Jaume I (Spain), Intergraph (US) and IONIC Software (Belgium). Participation is still open to members of the Open GIS Consortium.The CITE Initiative is part of OGC's Interoperability Program, a global, collaborative, hands-on engineering and testing program that rapidly delivers proven candidate specifications into OGC's Specification Program, where they are formalized for public release. In OGC's Interoperability Initiatives, international teams of technology providers work together to solve specific geoprocessing interoperability problems posed by the Initiative's Sponsors. For more information on the CITE Initiative, please contact Mr. Kurt Buehler, VP/CTO, at (812) 334-0601, or kbuehler@opengeospatial.org . For more information on the Interoperability Program, please contact Mr. Jeff Harrison, OGC Executive Director, Interoperability Program, at (703) 491-9543, or jharrison@opengeospatial.org .OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing 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 –“