The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) is calling for sponsors of a pilot project that will implement and demonstrate the sharing of information concerning underground infrastructure. The Pilot will implement sponsor requirements based on the findings of OGC's Underground Infrastructure Concept Study, of which the summary Engineering Report is now available.

The cost and time required to build, maintain, and improve underground assets is substantial to both the owner and the stakeholders who interact with them. Underground infrastructure is a special information interoperability challenge because its location and condition is, by its very nature, hidden by soil, pavement, and other structures. Further, in a single area there is usually a number of stakeholders building infrastructure underground without sharing its location to others that also interact in that space – this is a recipe for disaster, and often results in unintended strikes, damage, and even explosions.

Worse yet, underground assets rarely exist in isolation, so the failure of one organisation's asset may cause the cascading failure of other organisation's assets. For example, the failure of a transformer may cause a dewatering pump to fail, which may cause a telecom vault to flood, and so on.

Accurate three-dimensional geospatial information about the location, nature, condition and relationships of underground assets would reduce the expense for the asset manager and other stakeholders. Holistic understanding of the relationships between underground assets and with above ground infrastructure would help minimize service breakdowns and mitigate the impact of disasters. This level of understanding, modeling, and prediction in cities plays a key part in enabling the smart, safe, and resilient cities of the future.

“Mapping the underground infrastructure is extremely important for the operations of smart cities,” said Alan Leidner, Director of the Center for Geospatial Innovation at the Fund for the City of New York. “The OGC Underground Pilot project is the next step in making underground mapping a reality.”

OGC's Underground Pilot Project will create, test, and validate a reusable, standards-based underground information architecture that will enable cities around the world to rapidly advance their smart underground projects. The pilot's process will be based on previous successful OGC pilots in the domains of defense and intelligence, civilian aviation, and sensor web enablement. The pilot will define a reusable, validated architecture along with return on investment models for cities to use in their next generation underground infrastructure mapping and modeling projects.


OGC is currently looking for leading organisations to sponsor the Underground Pilot Project. Sponsors will define the requirements of the Pilot, therefore guiding its use cases the development of innovative solutions from the world's leading spatial technology organisations.


If you want an innovative solution to your organisation's underground data problem, OGC urges you to contact Luis Bermudez, Executive Director of OGC's Innovation Program


OGC's Underground Infrastructure Mapping & Modeling Concept Development Study Engineering Report now available

The Underground Pilot Project will be based on the results of OGC's recent Underground Infrastructure Mapping & Modeling Concept Development Study (Underground CDS). The Underground CDS examined opportunities for, and barriers to, establishing functional three-dimensional repositories of underground infrastructure and other relevant sub-surface information.


The Engineering Report documenting the Underground CDS, including the OGC membership's progress to date in building a conceptual framework for action to improve underground infrastructure data interoperability, is available for free from:


About the OGC

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 525 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that ‘geo-enable' the Web, wireless and location based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at