Wayland, MA, USA, April 4, 2002 – The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) today announced the formation of a Technology Advisory Group (TAG) that will support the efforts of I-Teams nationwide. I-Teams are state, regional, or thematic information consortia formed to plan and co-invest in current, standards-based spatial data. I-Teams, which include both public and private sector partners, are creating business plans to drive partnerships, policy, financial plans and processes necessary to realize these goals. The US Office of Management and Budget and the Federal Geographic Data Committee support I-Teams (see I-Teams at http://www.fgdc.gov/I-Team ).The TAG program allows I-Teams to participate in OGC's process and to work directly with industry, academia and government to address technology issues, and understand how new technologies will impact I-Team plans. The first TAG meeting, held at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York in early February, included discussions of the challenges facing I-Teams. Bill Burgess from Maryland's Department of Natural Resources introduced TAG members to the activities of Maryland's I-Team and highlighted several new initiatives for consideration by the TAG. He commented that “OGC's increasing focus on interoperability of spatial data that is maintained differently across data sharing communities will be particularly important to state and local governments. OGC's goal of mapping different data models to one another using OGC's Geography Markup Language schema is a particularly powerful step toward a quicker implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.”Mark Reichardt, OGC's Director of Marketing and Public Sector programs noted that, “the TAG process provides an excellent forum for dialog between I-Teams and OGC members from industry, government, and academia. I-Teams can get rapid feedback and recommendations on how plug and play interoperability can be introduced to enhance their use and sharing of geospatial information. OGC members have an avenue to better understand the interoperability issues that face state and local government in meeting their mission.”OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web and mainstream IT, and 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 –“