OGC Newsletter - June 2005
New from INSPIRE
Texas Weather Data Online Via OpenGIS Implementation
Website of the Month
IP Update, New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
The new OGC Board of Directors includes 18 business and academic professionals who were chosen for their ability to contribute to OGC's long-term business planning and corporate development.
With the geospatial community evolving so quickly, I believe it is useful to take a moment to focus on some of the issues that are of great concern to the OGC Board in its planning capacity. First, the rapidly expanding scope of OGC Web Services has created the requirement for significant organizational change in OGC, as well as more long range strategic planning. Second, the evolving Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) environment, particularly as regards geospatial issues, is beginning to seriously destabilize traditional business models, and OGC needs to develop a method at all levels for strategically recreating itself to maintain both technology relevance and resource development capabilities.
Within this context, OGC members need to be more aware of how to relate to the strategic planning work of the OGC Board: how to help educate the Board concerning the immediate needs of technology markets as well as keep it up to date on relevant developments within the committees of the Consortium. I believe that only through active coordination, involving both planning and development activities, can we ensure that the best and most responsible wisdom at all levels of affiliation can be used effectively to complete our consensus mission.
In the 1980s I worked for a workstation/mini-computer company that focused successfully on integrating rigorous "predictability, priority and pre-emption" (the "three p's of real-time") into the Unix operating system. Over time, much of this work (including symmetric multiprocessing) found its way into the various brands of Unix and substantially re-characterized the market for "real time" applications.
But, as we observed, at the same time high-performance hardware became much cheaper, while network communication with lightweight real-time embedded operating systems became faster, breaking our company's business model, making it an acquisition target to be merged into another company and refocused on different, more high-end and specialized application verticals.
I see something similar happening in the geospatial world. The objects are not the same but the principle of change is similar, and, as a sign of the maturation of geospatial sciences in general, resonates with what is happening in a great many other technology markets.
For example, such traditional applications as "GIS," "earth imaging," "facilities management," and "automated mapping" are starting to become less distinct as product offerings in the market, and more a property of comprehensive enterprise processing architectures. The technology that makes such capabilities so powerful are certainly not of any lesser order or complexity, but such capabilities are beginning to be delivered universally as Web Services and software components in a much broader service-based environment, something all of us in OGC know and have begun to take for granted.
Perhaps less obvious will be the impacts in the market of the expanded technical scope of our specifications. "It's the data, stupid" is a rude but appropriately emphatic way to say we need to look closely at the rapidly rising tide of real-time data and information inherent in location-based services (LBS), sensor webs, on-the-fly semantic translation of feature definitions, and service-based operations that switch between CAD and geospatial data. The old model is batch mode and back room. The new model is real-time transactions in an environment of a standard, near-ubiquitous network and massively distributed processing that changes everything. Vincent Tao at York University uses "GeoICT" as a term for indicating the convergence of geospatial technology into ICT infrastructure requirements. This kind of thinking is necessary. Our definitions need to be refined.
Location technologies, including GPS and RFID, figure prominently in this scenario. For example, OGC is currently in discussion with various organizations deeply involved with both of these technology areas and related value chains which are contemplating membership in the consortium organizations newly interested in both mainstream geospatial business development and the assimilation of real time data sources into the emerging "GeoICT" frameworks. The strategy exhibited here, simply stated, is to bring location awareness to virtually all mobile constructs and businesses that depend on deployed infrastructure." In OGC these organizations wish to influence the development of the standards that will help them achieve that end. They envision being a key component of a business infrastructure that will "support the needs of mainstream consumer and commercial platforms: wireless handheld, automobile, mobile computer, consumer electronics and enterprise." Most importantly, and even novel in our industry community, the channel they are trying to develop depends on spatial services.
Consider also a NEXTEL application in which children swipe an RFID card when they get on and off a bus, and their location appears almost immediately on a website were progress can be monitored. The new data sources are redefining the scope of our application space.
What is our true scope? OGC needs to draw a larger circle. We are now looking at truncated market segments that are badly defined. We must recognize the fact that market segmentation is changing based on new sources of geospatially enabled data, much of it real-time. As a result, the way we define applications is changing. Applications exist now in a sea of data, a space of data in which people, vehicles, packages and dynamic phenomena are like real-world cursors. Field-based data discovery is an entirely different experience from being involved in the analytical process in the lab. It is behavioral rather than structural. "Real world interactive" might describe the goal of some of our work with OASIS and IETF. The expansion of our scope to include technologies like sensor webs and LBS, and to include our specifications' tight fit with the larger Web Services world can be weighed and measured in different ways, but the markets we are talking about are in the billions of dollars in size.
OGC's board and staff are spending time on organization as well as strategic planning to deal with such issues. There are traditional GIS and spatial analysis companies, and then there are companies that are focused on new application spaces using dynamic data. It is the OGC Board that worries about how we accommodate both types of companies, where we focus our outreach and uptake energies, and how we work to accelerate global uptake of interoperability specifications in this new world.
I spend a lot time thinking about these issues and discussing them with colleagues who share my concerns. This is a part of the consensus process I would like you all to know more about, and which in the future we plan to make more accessible to the membership at large.
Chairman and CEO
NEW FROM INSPIRE
Preliminary results from the INSPIRE call for Expression of Interest:
- Spatial Data Interest Communities (SDICs): 133
- Legally Mandate Organisations (LMOs): 82
- Proposed Experts (individuals): 180
- Referenced Materials: 90
- Identified Projects: 91
TEXAS WEATHER DATA ONLINE VIA OPENGIS IMPLEMENTATION
Academy for Advanced Telecommunications and Learning Technology (AATLT)
Texas A&M University
gerry.creager [at] tamu.edu " style="font-style: italic;">gerry.creager [at] tamu.edu
The National Weather Service (NWS) does not have the mandate or the funds to observe local weather conditions everywhere, or to serve specific applications better handled at the state and local level, by state agencies, or by private consulting meteorologists or industry. Mesonets around the country demonstrate the success of the NWS policy of partnering with local agencies, universities, businesses and individuals in sharing data. (Mesoscale refers to weather systems smaller than those at the continental or oceanic spatial scale, such as migrating cyclones and anticyclones, air masses and fronts, but larger than storm-scale systems, which are generally less than 25 miles across.)
The Texas Mesonet is a regional network of about 300 observing stations (mostly surface stations) designed to observe mesoscale weather features, such as squall lines and large complexes of thunderstorms, and their associated processes. Data are received from over 150 Federal sites (such as the National Weather Service AWOS and FireWeather), over 40 research sites (such as the West Texas Mesonet), and over 150 volunteer weather observation systems, including amateur radio operators and the Citizen Weather Observer Program. The instruments report to a common point for display of the data in near real-time. The data are archived and available to the public and the academic community for research and analysis.
Figure 1: Weather stations
Figure 2: Texas weather map with near real-time updates
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
WMS client running on a Sony mobile phone.
The company offers an OGC WMS Client implemented in J2ME specifically designed for mobile devices. It's free for non-commercial use and supports zooming, scrolling, unlimited layer selection, and other features. A user manual is available in German and English.
The company notes that the client has been tested on many platforms including the Siemens S65, BlackBerry 7290, Palm III (using the midp4palm runtime), Tungsten T3 (IBM J9 VM for Palm OS) , Nokia 6600, Sony Ericsson T616 and iPAQ Pocket PC (IBM J9 VM for PocketPC).
Know of a website that uses OpenGIS specifications to solve a real world problem or demonstrates an interesting use? Drop the adena [at] opengeospatial.org (editor) an e-mail with the details including the URL, organization behind the website, specifications used, technology used and the goal of the website.
OGC-IP Concept Development Plan for GEOSS
"Understanding the Earth system its weather, climate, oceans, atmosphere, water, land, geodynamics, natural resources, ecosystems, and natural and human-induced hazards is crucial to enhancing human health, safety and welfare, alleviating human suffering including poverty, protecting the global environment, reducing disaster losses, and achieving sustainable development. Observations of the Earth system constitute critical input for advancing this understanding." So begins the "10-Year Implementation Plan" for the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).
This past February, participants in the Third Earth Observation Summit established the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), to take those steps necessary to implement the GEOSS. Based upon a motion approved during the January 2005 OGC Technical Committee meeting, OGC applied for membership as a Participating Organization in GEO. OGC membership was approved at the GEO meeting associated with the 3rd summit.
The GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan identifies that the success of GEOSS will depend on data and information providers accepting and implementing a set of interoperability arrangements, including technical specifications for collecting, processing, storing, and disseminating shared data, metadata, and products. GEOSS interoperability will be based on non-proprietary standards, with preference to formal international standards. The plan continues that GEO will establish, within 2 years, a process for reaching, maintaining, and upgrading GEOSS interoperability arrangements, informed by ongoing dialogue with major international programs and consortia.
Based on the OGC member interest expressed at the TC meetings this year and the suitability of OGC technology to GEOSS, the OGC Interoperability Program has begun a Concept Development Task for GEOSS. An OGC-IP Concept Development task assesses emerging technologies and architectures capable of supporting eventual Interoperability Initiatives. The Task examines alternative prototype mechanisms that enable commercial Web-services technology to interoperate for a given purpose. Concept Development includes developing member consensus on the direction of further IP tasks.
These tasks have been proposed for a OGC-IP Concept Development Plan for
- Develop an OGC Technology Strategy for GEOSS
- Conduct OGC-GEOSS Constituency building workshops
- Release an OGC-GEOSS Request for Technology (RFT)
- Develop OGC-GEOSS Testbed Concepts
The OGC-IP Team seeks member input and participation in the GEOSS Concept Development Plan. If you are interested, contact gpercivall [at] opengeospatial.org (George Percivall)
Status of OGC Interoperability Program Initiatives
- The OWS-3 kickoff meeting was held in late April. All OWS-3 threads are now in full operating mode. Designs and initial developments are underway.
Demonstrations are planned for October 2005. For further information, contact cheazel [at] opengeospatial.org (Chuck Heazel).
- Web Processing Service (WPS) Interoperability Experiment is now complete. A report and demonstration will be made at the June TC. There will be a formal RFC submission for adoption as an OpenGIS Specification for a consideration by the OGC membership.
- GML in JPEG 2000 (GMLJP2) Interoperability Experiment is nearing completion. The IE team is preparing a demo for the June TC and a summary report. The bulk of the work went into: a) improving the specification to meet needs of data providers and implementers; b) helping data providers with GML representations of their test data; and c) developing implementations of the GMLJP2 codec. There will be a GMLJP2 RFC submission for adoption as an OpenGIS Specification for consideration by the OGC membership.
- Geospatial Semantic Web Interoperability Experiment held its kickoff meeting May 12-13 2005. The turnout from the open geospatial community was excellent and the exchange of information was very productive.
- Sensor Alert Service IE Activity Plan has been approved by the OGC Review Board and a press release was issued. The initiators are planning a kickoff meeting. Now is the time for observers and participants to join.
For further information about these and other initiatives visit the initiatives website or contact gpercivall [at] opengeospatial.org (George Percivall), Executive Director, Interoperability Architecture.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (South Africa)
INSULA s.p.a. (Italy)
Multnomah County, Oregon (U.S.)
OGC IN THE NEWS
- OGC in the Press
Advancing the Sensor Web
Casting About for Standards
Location: The New CRM Attribute
IT Business Edge
May 26, 2005
ObjectFX Selected by Open Geospatial Consortium to Participate in Web Services Interoperability Initiative
May 25, 2005
May 11, 2005
EmerGeo Integrates With WebEOC
May 2, 2005
SYS Announces Adoption of Geospatial Development Standard
May 17, 2005
Integrating Geography and Real-Time Sensor Data
- OGC Press Releases
OGC Names Raj Singh Director Interoperability Programs
June 3, 2005
OGC announces Sensor Alert Service Interoperability Experiment
May 17, 2005
June 6-9, 2005
Sensors Expo and Conference
June 9-10, 2005
ISO/TC 211 20th Plenary
June 13 - 17, 2005
St John's, Newfoundland, Canada
OGC Technical and Planning Committee Meetings
June 16-18, 2005
Open Source Geospatial. '05
June 29, 2005
SecurE-Biz CxO Summit - "Solution Roadmap for Information Sharing & Secure Information Infrastructure"
June 29 - July 1, 2005
11th EC-GI & GIS Workshop, ESDI: Setting the Framework
July 4-15 2005
Fiesole (Florence) Italy
3rd annual Vespucci International Summer School on GI Science
July 6-8, 2005
ISO/TC 211 21th Plenary
For further info on events please contact gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org (Greg Buehler).
Please send comments and suggestions to:
adena [at] opengeospatial.org (Adena Schutzberg)
Editor, OGC News
Open Geospatial Consortium
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Fax: +1 508 655 2237
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Copyright 2005 by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.