Wayland, MA, USA, March 20, 2002. The Open GIS Consortium, Inc (OGC) today announced a Call for Sponsors for the OGC Conformance Testing and Interoperability Evaluation (CTIE) Initiative. Set to commence in April 2002, CTIE will enable geospatial technology developers to test and validate product conformance to OGC's Web-based OpenGIS® Specifications. The CTIE Initiative will improve the industry's ability to assess the interoperability of Standards-based Commercial Off The Shelf (SCOTS) products that implement OpenGIS Specifications.The CTIE Initiative will focus on the development of a conformance-testing engine, test guidelines, and test scripts for testing and validation of products with interfaces implementing OpenGIS Web Map Server and Web Feature Server Specifications, the Geography Markup Language (GML), and other OpenGIS Implementation Specifications. The CTIE Initiative will support OGC's successful Interoperability Initiatives, which are helping to establish a core set of OpenGIS Specifications that enable easier discovery and freer access to web services to process and apply geographic information in support of vital government, business, education and research, and consumer needs.If you would like information on becoming a Sponsor of CTIE, please contact Mr. Kurt Buehler, OGC VP and CTO by telephone at (812) 320-1423, or by e-mail at kbuehler@opengeospatial.org . The sponsor team will be finalized by the end of April 2002.The Conformance Testing and Interoperability Evaluation 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.OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface 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 –“