Arlington, VA, February 1, 2001 Open GIS Consortium (OGC) held a Sponsors meeting January 30 to announce the launch of the first test bed of the Open Location Services (OpenLS) Initiative. IT and wireless industry leaders Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Webraska, Yeoman, Intergraph, ESRI, CTIA, In-Q-Tel, MapInfo, Autodesk, Siemens and Hutchison 3G participated.The meeting was held to confirm sponsorship interest in the OpenLS® Initiative and to solicit feedback regarding the next steps, including the upcoming release of the Request for Quotation document and the first test bed.The OpenLS Initiative, led by OGC, one of the worlds leading software consortia is devoted to the development of interface specifications that facilitate the use of “spatial” or “location” information in Internet-enabled mobile environments.With the OpenLS Initiative, OGC will deliver open specification interfaces for interoperable location-based application services and client applications by using its collaborative, rapid-paced, hands-on engineering program. Many industry analysts believe that open standards will be a catalyst in the growth of the nascent location services industry and will greatly facilitate the efforts of both buyers and providers of interoperable location-based applications and services.OGC introduced plans for harmonizing OpenLS specifications with other industry forums and standards organizations such as the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF). Several OGC OpenLS harmonization liaison efforts already underway drew support and positive feedback from the industry participants.Louis Hecht, Vice President of Business Development at OGC said, “We were pleased with the enthusiastic response that we received during todays meeting. OpenLS is now firmly positioned and ready to build the test bed. Based on the positive results of Sponsors meeting, we will immediately implement the next step, the development of the Request for Quotation.”To become a sponsor, or for additional information about the OpenLS Initiative, visit www.openls.orgOGC, an international consortium of more than 200 corporations, agencies and universities, coordinates collaborative development of the OpenGIS® Specification and collaborative business development to support full integration of geospatial data and geoprocessing resources into mainstream computing. Visit .Open LS is a trade mark of and OpenGIS is a registered trade mark of the Open GIS Consortium, Inc.– end –“