March 9, 2001: The Open GIS Consortium, Inc (OGC) announced today its intent to release a Request for Technology (RFT) for a major Web Services Initiative. The RFT will be available on the OGC website ( ) by March 21, 2001. This set of six planned activities will extend OpenGIS standards, enabling freer access to web services that process geographic information.The Web Services Initiative is part of OGC's Interoperability Program, a global, collaborative, hands-on engineering and testing program that delivers proven candidate specifications into OGC's OpenGIS Specification Development Program. In OGC's Interoperability Initiatives, international teams of technology providers work together to solve specific geoprocessing interoperability problems posed by the Initiative's sponsors. The Web Services Initiative will build on the results of previous OGC testbeds and pilot projects and the work of the OGC Technical Committee and other standards organizations. Major focus areas of the Web Services Initiative are:– Web Mapping Testbed, Phase 3 will consolidate the progress made in previous testbeds with work accomplished in OGC Web Services Initiative threads. This activity will also investigate future web services for visualization, feature and coverage data access, and other services.– 3D / 4D will extend OGC's GML (XML encoding of geospatial data), Simple Feature Access, and Web Feature Server specifications, with the goal of bringing time, topology, and more complex geometric representation capabilities into these OGC data access and manipulation services.– Geoanalysis and Decision Support will develop interoperable service chaining (common expression and execution) and service metadata extensions for complex spatial models (e.g., science models). Goals include extending the OGC Basic Services Model and exercising key concepts in ISO 19119.– Information Community Enablement will create a new technical standards approach to overcoming the problem of semantic differences in geospatial data and associated metadata. It will focus on supporting “Information Communities” using OGC Web Services, fielding data models across communities, and building tools for application schema creation, mapping, and migration. Candidate Information Communities include Earth Observation, Natural Resources, Disaster Management and Public Safety, Telecommunications, Defense and Intelligence, and Location Based Services, each of which is represented by an OGC Special Interest Group.– Web Based Exploitation will focus on an open e-commerce architecture that dynamically connects earth imagery and other geospatial information providers, maintainers, and users in collaborating communities, providing users with interoperable Web-based exploitation capabilities.– Sensor Web Enablement will produce open standards for Web-optimized information gathering from distributed, heterogeneous, dynamic information sensors, and Web resources through common gateways and interfaces (“Ask it, task it, see it”). It will result in common interfaces (and an XML-based Sensor Markup Language) for managing sensor information and metadata independent of application. One goal is transparent integration of data from earth imaging platforms and ground collection systems (for water quality, GPS correction stations, dynamic attribution sensors on lakes and dams, etc.).Denice Shaw, Director of the Environmental Monitoring for Public Access & Community Tracking (EMPACT) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said, “Our ability to achieve further advancements in the protection of the environment depends on the ability to rapidly integrate accurate information from the field. While we have seen significant progress in industry technologies to support environmental monitoring, we must encourage additional interoperability to assure rapid integration of technologies to meet our mission at the lowest possible cost. As a new member of OGC, we will work with other OGC members to help improve environmental sensor interoperability, and to advance interoperability throughout the business process.”If you are interested in more information or if you would like to be a sponsor of the Web Services Initiative, please contact Mr. Jeff Harrison, OGC Interoperability Program Manager by telephone at (703) 628-8655, or by e-mail at .OGC is an international industry consortium of over 200 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing specifications. OpenGIS Specifications establish common interfaces that “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 .– end –“