Wayland, MA, USA, October 3, 2003- The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) is issuing a Call for Sponsors for an Emergency Mapping Symbology (EMS) Initiative. This call seeks interested Sponsors to provide input on technology requirements and concepts to address interoperability needs for emergency mapping and homeland security. The EMS Initiative will mature OGC's specification framework for interoperable geographic symbolization while simultaneously testing emerging standard map symbol sets for emergency response and homeland security developed by national-level mapping organizations.The development of standards for emergency mapping will strengthen coordination, communication and interoperability. These results enhance the ability of planners and emergency managers to better understand mapped information at a glance during crucial decision-making moments. From an operational perspective, standardized emergency mapping symbol sets implemented over standard-based web mapping architectures will support the quick and easy development of multi-source common operating pictures, giving users a vital shared view of the emergency at hand. Systems generating common operating pictures using standards-based software will access spatial and related content from many sources and symbolize them in a common consistent manner, independent of the underlying feature classification schemes, data structures or data models.Through sponsorship of the EMS Initiative, organizations will be invited to contribute resources and help refine the architecture and testing requirements for the project. These requirements will be used to develop an OGC Request for Quotation/Call for Participation. As such, sponsors of this initiative will establish goals and objectives for the initiative and have significant input on specifying the requirements for the interoperable technology testing and development process.If your organization is interested in driving the evolution of geospatial interoperability and emergency mapping standards by sponsoring and/or participating in the Emergency Mapping Symbology (EMS) Initiative please contact Mr. Jeff Harrison, OGC Executive Director, Program Development, by telephone at (703) 628-8655, or by e-mail at jharrison@opengeospatial.org .The EMS Initiative is part of the next phase of OGC's Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI), an OGC Interoperability Initiative designed to test the application of interoperable technology to meet critical infrastructure and homeland security detection, prevention, planning, response, and recovery challenges. More information on CIPI is available at http://ip.opengeospatial.org/cip/ .OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 255 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 .OpenGIS® is a registered trademark of Open GIS Consortium, Inc.– end –“