OGC Newsletter - July 2008
Chief Technology Officer's Message: The Cloud
CTO's Report on June 2008 TC and PC Meetings
News and Opinion From The Blogosphere
Website of the Month
New Members, OGC In The News, Events, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe
Back issues of OGC News are available.
CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER'S MESSAGE: THE CLOUD
One of the latest IT "buzz" concepts is the "cloud" and "cloud computing." What exactly is "the cloud" and what does such a computing platform mean in terms of OGC standards? Hundreds of articles and analyses have been published and most major data center providers are actively marketing cloud computing.
The term "cloud" comes from the fact that we have all used the cloud symbol to represent the internet/web. Cloud computing therefore refers to consumers, developers and applications being able to access computing resources from the cloud. These computing resources are typically owned and operated by some third party provider - either for free or for a fee. Current marketing hype suggests that the resources are provided on a consolidated basis from massive data center locations. Consumers are not generally concerned about the underlying technologies. SaaS - Software as a Service - is often used in conjunction with any discussion related to cloud computing.
However, as with most "new" IT capabilities, cloud computing is not actually new. The operational Grid computing platform has been around for many years. The most common notion of the Grid is the creation of a "virtual supercomputer" composed of a network of distributed, loosely coupled computers, acting in concert to perform very large tasks. The key to the Grid is that these computers are provided on a voluntary basis and not for a fee. So, in a sense, the Grid allows an application to create a cloud on demand.
Current market thinking is that Grid is a loosely coupled distributed platform whereas cloud computing is dependent on the availability of very large data centers. However, as we shall see, from an OGC standards perspective there is really little difference between the cloud and Grid computing platforms.
An interesting and powerful step in the evolution of the cloud is the increasing options for developers that allow for platform services in the cloud. The Grid environment has open source developer tools such as the Globus toolkit, software used for building Grid systems and applications.
Now, for both consumer applications and for developer toolkits to be broadly deployed in either environment and for them to be future-proofed, interoperable, and extensible, standards are necessary. A key requirement for geospatial processing both in the cloud and on the Grid is that geospatial content and services can be easily discovered, marshaled, and executed. Further, the ability to discover and process (fuse) geospatial content from multiple sources where the content is stored in various repositories and in different formats and to access and use this content on demand is also a requirement for both the cloud and the Grid.
The OGC has a formal Memorandum with the Open Grid Forum. The Grid community has been actively using and integrating OGC standards into a range of Grid-deployed applications. For example, in the System of Agents for Forest Observation Research with Advanced Hierarchies (SAFORAH), the Web Coverage Service (WCS), Web Map Service (WMS), and Catalogue Service for Web (CS/W) have been implemented allowing OGC-enabled geospatial information systems to access Canadian EOSD (Earth Observation for Sustainable Development) landcover products and Landsat imagery. In another project, SEEGEO, the participants are implementing a variety of OGC Web Service standards and writing a report identifying best practices for the secure use of OGC web services using Grid technology, including WS-Security. And numerous Grid projects have implemented the OGC Web Processing Service.
Given that the cloud computing platform and SaaS together are very similar (identical?) in their requirements for access to services and geospatial content, my belief is that OGC standards have the same value and provide the same benefits for the cloud as they do for the Grid community. It is only a matter of time before OGC standards are an integral component of the cloud.
-- Carl Reed
CTO'S REPORT ON JUNE 2008 TC AND PC MEETINGS
The 65th OGC Technical Committee meetings were held the week of June 2nd in Potsdam, Germany, hosted by GFZ with sponsorship support from 1Spatial, DLR and the WhereGroup. Over 130 individuals attended and participated in the various Working Group sessions. The Interoperability Days attracted additional registrants interested in learning about standards, especially standards activities in Europe.
The OGCNetwork includes reports of document motions from OGC meetings. The motions at the Potsdam meeting are to be found at http://www.ogcnetwork.net/node/385. Topics covered there include copyright wording, OGC Naming Authority, five document motions, and seven informative motions.
Official approval vote to release a document as an OGC Best Practice
The TC and the OGC PC approved the following change to the TC P&P: An official electronic vote will be required to approve release of any OGC document as an OGC Best Practice.
Rationale and clarification: All Best Practice document approval motions will go to electronic vote. However, no IPR review will be required. The TC and PC must approve the motion for starting the electronic vote. The reason for the change is that a BP is an official position of the OGC. Given the "weight" of an official position, members need to be given proper notice that a vote is occurring and have the time necessary to review the document. This change will go into effect after the Potsdam meeting.
Long term or persistent SWG
The TC and the Planning Committee approved a TC P&P change that allows a SWG to remain in existence until a vote to dissolve the SWG. The caveat is that the Charter must state the requirement that the SWG has a status of persistent. This change goes into effect immediately. A number of Standards Working Groups have determined that they need to have an existence longer than one revision cycle.
SWG reports to the TC
The TC and the PC approved a process change to clarify the policy for SWG reports to the TC.
- If there is no objection to unanimous consent by the SWG voting members on any technical content that is to be presented to any audience outside of the SWG membership, then it can be presented.
- The implication is that any SWG that meets face to face at a TC meeting must develop and approve their report to the TC as part of their normal course of doing work in the SWG. This change goes into effect immediately.
SWG dialogues with other SWGs
The TC and PC approved the following SWG policy change. Any SWG can communicate with another SWG on standards-related technical topics as long as the members of both SWG agree to have such a dialogue. Agreement requires that the voting members of each SWG agree to this communication. This change goes into effect immediately.
The PC approved a new OGC TC e-voting policy for all adoption and other votes in which only TC Voting Members can vote. There is a separate document describing the new policy. The new e-voting policy goes into effect immediately. All outstanding TC votes and any votes approved at the Potsdam meetings are grandfathered under the current TC P&P policy on e-votes.
-- Carl Reed
NEWS AND OPINION FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
Below are some of the discussions of OGC and geospatial standards in the blogosphere since the last edition of this newsletter:
July 11: Joe Sonic (Johannes Sornig) posted "Opensource, OpenLS and OpenStreetMaps for a OpenRouteService." Since April, OpenRouteService.org has been providing routing functionality based on the OGC OpenGIS Location Service (OpenLS) Specification. Its routing service is currently available for Germany, with user-generated, collaboratively collected free geodata from OpenStreetMap.org.
July 7: In Ron Lake's post, "Cascading and Federated WFS and the Concept of Geolinking," he sets out his views about how geolinking, model representation and conflation relate to each other and could all be handled by a variation of Web Feature Service (WFS). He offers the terms cascaded or federated WFS as descriptors for the variation.
June 26: Mats Lindh posted "Using Apache httpd as Your Caching Solution," in which he offers a way to use Apache httpd with Web Map Service (WMS) to reduce the overhead involved in repeatedly parsing requests.
June 25: In "Global warming linked to national security," Jeff Harrison reported that U.S. intelligence agencies briefed Congress on the threat global warming poses to US National Security. In describing the intelligence community's reliance on studies by other government agencies, Jeff pointed out that "In this environment geospatial interoperability and open access to environmental information through standards like Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) SDI 1.0 services are vital to the climate change battle."
June 5: Jeff Thurston blogged about "OGC Interoperability Day 2008: Ongoing Work," including demonstrations of CityGML, presentations about the SANY (Sensors Anywhere) initiative, and progress reported on the German / Indonesian Early Warning System (GITEWS).
June 4: Chris Pendleton posted "Virtual Earth and OGC WMS," about a new tourist portal for a region in Bavaria - Fraenkischer Gebirgsweg. It integrates an Open Geospatial Consortium Web Map Service with Virtual Earth, leading Chris to note, "...I'm pretty excited about the WMS integration and I don't read German."
May 30: In the All Points Blog, Joe Francica posted "BIM Booms at BE Conference," a report from the Bentley conference. Joe noted points from the presentation made by OGC President and CEO Mark Reichardt, in which he urged a seamless integration of BIM with geospatial information, and "focused on the convergence of geospatial and engineering environments and offered that 3D city models (think CityGML) have multifunctional uses..." The report also mentions the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner and Operator ) testbed. A joint initiative of the OGC and the buildingSMART alliance, the testbed unites the AECOO community to draft interoperability standards that address and solve a defined set of problems.
May 22: Joe Francica blogged that "Spatial Databases Spark Debate" at the Pitney Bowes MapWorld conference. For OGC watchers, the concluding sentence is interesting: "There was some consensus that web services and OGC WMS/WFS specifications offer supporting alternatives as a means to data access."
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH
The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), part of the Department of Commerce (DOC) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), operates "NCDC's Geodata Portal" to provides access to the "World's Largest Archive of Climate Data." NCDC has approximately 1000 datasets, counting both digital and non-digital data. The online document library includes documentation on 352 datasets.
Data access is provided in several ways, including OGC services. This method supports Web Map Service (WMS) specification 1.1.1 and Web Feature Service (WFS) specification 1.0.0. Step-by-step instructions for accessing WFS are provided.
Sensor Web 2.0 Is a 2008 R&D 100 Award Winner
R&D Magazine honors the 100 most significant proven technological advances every year. Winners for 2008 include Sensor Web 2.0, which uses OGC standards. Developed by a team of people from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, George Mason University, Vightel Corporation, Noblis, Northrop Grumman Corporation, West Virginia Hi-Tech Consortium, University of Maryland, Draper Laboratory, and Innovative Solutions, Sensor Web 2.0 enables users to access data from sensors around the world by using several OGC standards: Sensor Planning Service (SPS), Sensor Alert Service (SAS), and Sensor Observation Service (SOS), all part of Sensor Web Enablement standards, plus Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Processing Service (WPS), Web Coverage Service (WCS), Web Map Services (WMS) and Web Coordinate Transformation Service (WCTS).
Sensor Web 2.0 has been part of OGC Web Services -4 and -5, Global Earth Observing Systems of Systems (GEOSS) Pilot 1, and the Empire Challenge 08 Pilot (EC'08).
Invitation to Qualify for Interoperability Program Pool
The OGC Interoperability Program maintains an "IP Pool" of pre-qualified consultants for staffing the IP Teams of testbeds and pilots. The IP Pool is populated through an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) process.
The ITQ solicits companies, universities, and independent consultants who wish to pre-qualify to be part of future IP Teams. The OGC IP conducts its mission by tapping expertise from the IP Team pool to form project teams that conduct IP Initiatives.
The ITQ, announced widely about two years ago, remains open and can be found here: http://www.opengeospatial.org/ogc/policies/ippp
The OGC IP team invites organizations to become part of the IP Pool. OGC anticipates staffing several initiatives in the near future. Existing IP Pool members need not reapply. Note that IP Pool and IP Team members are not typically IP Initiative Participants.
Presentations from Third deegree Day Are Available Online
deegree, an Open Source Project based on a Java Framework, offers building blocks for Spatial Data Infrastructures. Its architecture is developed using standards of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and ISO/TC 211 (ISO Technical Committee 211 -- Geographic Information/Geomatics). deegree implements these OGC standards: WMS 1.1.0, WMS 1.1.1, WMS 1.3, WFS 1.0.0, WFS 1.1.0, WCS 1.0.0, GML 3.1.1, CS-W 2.0.0, CS-W 2.0.1, CS-W 2.0.2, ISO Application Profile 0.9.3 (CS-W 2.0.0), ISO Application Profile 1.0.0 (CS-W 2.0.2), CS-W ebRIM profile 0.1.7 (CS-W 2.0.1) , WMC 1.0.0, WPS 0.4.0, WPVS, SOS, Simple Features for SQL, SLD 1.0.0.
An overview of the day has a link to the download section, which includes a gallery of pictures from the event, copies of presentations, software for Windows and Linux, and summary reports of the event in English and German.
OGC Europe (OGCE) Advances Interoperability in the Region: the ORCHESTRA Example
OGC Europe (OGCE) conducts business in Europe on behalf of OGC's mission, goals and objectives. OGCE's participation in the ORCHESTRA (Open Architecture and Spatial Data Infrastructure for Risk Management) project promoted adoption of interoperable geoprocessing in Europe and helped bring European requirements into the OGC standards process. ORCHESTRA, a major Integrated Project in the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission, focused on the technological challenges that limit effective information handling in environmental risk management. The Reference Model for the ORCHESTRA Architecture (RM-OA) is now an OGC Best Practices document. The 129-page book (4 meg pdf), orchestra: an open service architecture for risk management, identifies and addresses, in non-technical language, the major technological barriers between stakeholders for efficient information handling in risk management. OGCE had a major role in ORCHESTRA as an active partner.
OGC welcomes new members who joined us recently.
buildingSMART International Ltd. (Research Institute / Not For Profit Institute) (United Kingdom)
CentroGeo (Research Institute / Not For Profit Institute) (Mexico)
Indra Software Labs (Associate) (Spain)
Najmi, Farrukh (Individual) (United States)
Noblis (Research Institute / Not For Profit Institute) (United States)
OGC IN THE NEWS
The August 2008 issue of GIM International article "SLIP: a Success Story" describes the Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) in Western Australia. The SLIP architecture is consistent with the OpenGIS Reference Model (ORM) and "enables maximum reuse of components, and positions SLIP for integration with other services." SLIP promotes shared outcomes while maintaining agency accountability.
The July Geo:Connexion story "Real-time Accuracy" offers an interesting look at the role of the geospatial industry in the IT infrastructure for the 2012 Olympic Games in Britain. The article proposes that OGC standards be used to promote interoperability and openness, so that security requirements can be met without disrupting the operations of the existing business activities that provide access to the needed data.
July 7, Press of Atlantic City carried "Location of Bridgeton's zoo on GPS not in sight," about the fact that people who trust their navigation systems to get them to the Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton, New Jersey, end up in a park and no zoo in sight. One of the people quoted in the article is Sam Bacharach, OGC's executive director for outreach, who explained some of the factors involved.
June 27th, BALIZ-MEDIA.com published "L'utilisation des normes et technologies ouvertes en sécurité civile: Un contexte favorisant la géocollaboration," which mentioned that OGC's Web Map Service is used extensively by Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec (MSP - the Ministry of Public Security of Quebec), because WMS displays data quickly over the Web.
Vector1Media conducted a wide-ranging interview with OGC President and CEO Mark Reichardt, along with Martin Klopfer, European Programs Director and Athina Trakas, OGC business development Europe, during the Interoperability Days in Potsdam. Posted 19 June, "Interview: OGC - Building Geospatial Capacity Around the World" notes that OGC standards enable business and contribute to successful transnational applications. Other topics: Global Spatial Data Infrastructure, robotics and artificial intelligence, the first undergraduate degrees in Open Standards, and privacy and security issues.
On 12 June, Vector1Media posted "Interview: CityGML - Modeling The City For The Future." The interview of Thomas Kolbe took place in Potsdam during the Interoperability Days. Topics include how CityGML got started and later became international; the difference between CityGML and KML, what CityGML can contribute to Building Information Modeling (BIM), and how CityGML and Industry Foundation Classes involve different scales, scope and modeling paradigms.
On 10 June, Earthzine posted "Google, Microsoft and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)" by OGC's Executive Director, Interoperability Architecture George Percivall. It spells out that applications must specify a coordinate reference system - projection, datum and ellipsoid - to return correct locations. The role of OGC and the development of standards is identified as important to the growth of the "geospatial web."
Directions Magazine on June 3rd featured "The Open Geospatial Consortium: Fostering a Climate for Collaboration" by John Olesak, member of OGC's Board of Directors. He notes that, while OGC is well-known for its contribution to standards, its role in fostering collaboration may be as important. "Collaborative environments are difficult to achieve and maintain over time. OGC has a proven track record of keeping a balance between a structured steady course and the rapid adaptation and assimilation of new ideas."
On 1 June, Emergency Management published "DHS Promotes Open Geospatial Data Standards" by OGC Executive Director of Outreach Sam Bacharach. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) works with emergency managers and first responders from many organizations, and encourages consensus standards and specifications so that everyone can work from a "Common Operational Picture" during emergencies. Two OGC specifications were particularly noted for contributing to an enhanced user experience: the OpenGIS Symbology Encoding specification and related OpenGIS Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) specification. These standards enable different members of emergency response teams to share diverse data sources while viewing the data they need in map styles designed for particular jobs.
Sensors and Transducers Journal now monitors article downloads, see "Sensors & Transducers Journal: Frequently Downloaded Articles." For the month of May 2008, the sixth-most-frequently-downloaded article was "OGC® Sensor Web Enablement Standards" by George Percivall, OGC's Executive Director, Interoperability Architecture and Carl Reed, PhD, OGC's Chief Technology Officer. Published in September 2006, the trend is up for this article: 150 downloads in May, after 115 in April and 110 in March. Does this tell us something about growth of the sensor web, and possibly changes in perception of the value of interoperability?
OGC Press Releases
The OGC® Announces Call for Participation in OWS-6 Testbed
July 21, 2008
OGC Announces Successful GEOSS Sensor Web Workshop
July 18, 2008
PCI Geomatics Becomes OGC Principal-Plus Member
July 17, 2008
OGC Elects Two New Directors
July 17, 2008
GEO Announces Call for Participation in GEOSS Pilot
July 2, 2008
OGC(R) Requests Comments on Web Coverage Standard Extensions)
June 30, 2008
OGC Seeks Input on Next Version of Geography Markup Language - GML(TM)
June 25, 2008
OGC and WfMC Partner to Advance Standards Goals
June 17, 2008
August 18-20, 2008
Map Asia 2008
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
September 15-18, 2008
September '08 OGC Technical Committee Meeting
September 18-19, 2008
September '08 OGC Planning Committee Meeting
September 29 - October 4, 2008
Cape Town, South Africa
October 7-8, 2008
ASPRS-PR's GeoTech: The Premiere Mid-Atlantic Imagery and Geospatial Conference
Silver Spring, Maryland
November 24-26, 2008
Workshop on the use of GIS/OGC standards in meteorology - ECMWF
Shinfield Park, UK
December 1-5, 2008
ISO/TC 211 27th Plenary
December 1-4, 2008
December '08 OGC Technical Committee Meeting
December 4-5, 2008
December '08 OGC Planning Committee Meeting
February 10-14, 2009
2009 Map World Forum
April 19-22, 2009
GITA GIS Conference
For further info on events please contact gbuehler [at] opengeospatial.org (Greg Buehler).
Please send comments and suggestions to:
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