Wayland, MA, USA, May 25, 2001 – The Open GIS Consortium's (OGC) European subsidiary, the Open GIS Consortium (Europe) Ltd. (OGCE) and the Landesvermessungsamt (Surveying and Mapping Agency) of the German State of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) have agreed to collaborate on a Pilot Project that uses OpenGIS specification conformant commercial products. NRW and the City of Cologne will execute the pilot and OGCE will advise and assist as needed. This will be the first Pilot Project for which OGCE has provided interoperability planning services.NRW is unique in Germany because data for land ownership is managed not at the state level, but by large cities and counties. The variety of software tools used across the state has provided extensive technological freedom, but has made data sharing difficult. The goal of the project is to provide an integrated method to share and exploit spatial information acquired from distributed sources located across government sites in Cologne, and to provide feedback into the OGC Specification Program.The Pilot will involve common access and display of data from several internal GIS databases, including land ownership records, base map information from the Landesvermessungsamt itself and several other departments in the city government.This project highlights several hallmarks of interoperability. The participating departments will not need to change their existing software, but rather extend it, to work with other software. The architecture proposed will be built in part using local expertise, assuring the development of in country experience to grow the project further. Finally, NRW Pilot Project is a key implementation of OGC specifications in a local government setting, an important step for communities worldwide.Heinz Brüggemann, of the Ministry of the Interior and member of the GI-Committee of North Rhine Westphalia, explains the vision of the project. “The project is part of a state-wide initiative of NRW to establish typical solutions for network integrated geographic information systems. The technology will serve the NRW state, city and county offices as parts of a general geographic data infrastructure of the state called GDI NRW. Within this infrastructure, Internet access will be available to all public and private geographic information available in NRW. All participants have signed a Common Manifesto for Interoperability and have committed to apply the standards of the Open GIS Consortium and the ISO/TC 211 whenever they are available.”The collaboration will begin May 28 in Cologne. Demonstrations of the outcome are expected later this year.OGC is an international industry consortium of over 200 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing specifications. OpenGIS Specifications establish common interfaces that “geo-enable” the Web and mainstream IT, enabling technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. OGC (Europe) Limited, an OGC subsidiary, was established to better address European interoperability needs, and to increase OGC presence for European members. Visit the OGC website at www.opengeospatial.org .– end –“