London, UK , March 1, 2002. The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that its subsidiary, Open GIS Consortium (Europe), Limited (OGCE) is a partner with the European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information (EUROGI), the European Commission – Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the University of Sheffield in a far-reaching European geographic information (GI) project entitled Geographic Information Network in Europe (GINIE).The GINIE project brings together three crucial sets of players: the national and pan-European GI associations represented by EUROGI, the European Commission, represented by its Joint Research Centre, and industry through the European arm of OGC. The project is coordinated by the University of Sheffield, one of the OGC members, also strongly linked to the European GI research community.In addition to raising awareness, GINIE work packages provide for establishing a common European approach for engaging with regional and global geographic information forums regarding European geographic information strategies and capacity building. To learn more about the objectives and work programme of the GINIE project, see GINIE began on the 1st November 2001 for a two year period during which it will establish a permanent European Advisory Board for Geographic Information (ABGI).GINIE is an Information Society Technologies Programme (IST) programme “Accompanying Measure” focused on developing the European Geographic Information Strategy. IST is a major research programme managed by the Information Society Directorate General of the European Commission. Countries around the world have been developing GI strategies in recent years as governments have become aware of the benefits and challenges of providing agencies, citizens, and businesses with shared, easily discoverable, readily accessible, well-integrated spatial information. GINIE will work on policy and coordination issues related to GI capacity building and will promote wider understanding of the technical and institutional issues that major stakeholders must address. The GINIE project will provide strategic input to the new European Commission initiative developing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE), organize the 8th EC GIS Workshop in Dublin in July 2002, and contribute to the international debate taking place at the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Conference in Budapest in September 2002.Ian Masser, president of EUROGI, said, “We are very pleased that the EC is supporting our work with OGCE in the GINIE project. It represents a major step forward for everyone in Europe, really, because spatial information potentially has such universal value for citizens, businesses, and government. Realizing this potential requires exactly the kind of concerted effort that is embodied in GINIE.”Alessandro Annoni of the JRC, heading the Technical Coordination and Secretariat group of the INSPIRE initiative, said, “IST and the European Commission are fortunate to have EUROGI and OGCE working together in GINIE. Each does an excellent job of representing their constituencies, and these are the two constituencies that must work together to build the European spatial data infrastructure.”OGC an international industry consortium of over 230 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing interface specifications. OpenGIS® Specifications support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services, 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 .– end –“