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The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international industry consortium of 510 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface standards. OGC® Standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services and mainstream IT. The standards empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications.

A new manager for the OGC validation tools: lat/lon

The OGC Validation tools, those behind the free OGC web testing facility, have been used thousands of times by developers around the world to improve their software and confirm compliance with OGC standards. The reports from the web validator are used to ‘get organizations certified’ and serve as proof that the software will work seamlessly with external data sources served using OGC standards.

 

The tools are composed of a test engine (known as TEAM Engine) and test scripts developed for each standard, with about 50 repositories existing on GitHub right now (see: test suites and teamengine versions). OGC, coordinating with various groups around the world, provides monthly beta releases with a production release every 6 months.

 

I recently took the role to lead the Innovation Program, which provides a collaborative agile process for solving geospatial problems and advancing new technologies (more about that in this post). To fill part of my previous responsibilities as Compliance Executive Director, we decided to advertise the position for Product Manager of the OGC Validation Tools. Although we received good responses, we didn’t have one response that met all three criteria: 1) expertise of OGC standards, 2) expertise in building software, and 3) expertise in working in the ‘open’ world.

 

In a conversation with Dirk Stenger from lat/lon, an OGC member in Germany, the topic came up and we decided to move forward on the idea of lat/lon taking on the role of managing the OGC validation tools. lat/lon has been working with OGC for more than 10 years, leading the development and maintenance of tests like WMTS 1.0, WMS 1.3, and WFS 1.1. They are also main contributors to deegree, open-source spatial software that is a reference implementation for most OGC standards, including WFS 2.0.

 

Due to lat/lon’s longtime involvement in collaborative work in the ‘open’ world, lat/lon have gained an extensive knowledge of the procedures, methods, and tools used by the OGC. This high amount of structural and technical experience will enable lat/lon to manage the OGC validation tools with minimum impact on the developers that rely on OGC’s testing tools. Further, it is expected that the tools will be improved and advanced in terms of both their technical and organizational aspects.

 

What’s next?

 

If you have any ideas that you think could help you and others implement OGC standards, let OGC know via our community forum or by submitting an issue in the project trackers.

Happy Testing!

-Luis Bermudez

Original author: Luis Bermudez
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GeoPackage guidance

info [at] opengeospatial.org

Original author: Anonymous
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Leveraging the OGC Innovation Program to Advance Big Data Spokes

Big Data aids in Health

The National Science Foundation (NSF) currently has an open program solicitation that seeks to establish more ‘Big Data Spokes’ to advance Big Data Applications. Like the BD Hubs, the BD Spokes will provide a regional coordinating role but they will focus on narrower topic areas, such as applications concerning the acquisition and use of health data, or data science in agriculture, among others. In addition to its topic area, spokes will be driven by three themes: 1) advance solutions towards a grand challenge, 2) automate the Big Data lifecycle, and 3) improve and incentivise access to critical data.

Using the Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) Innovation Process could help Big Data Spokes advance a solution to better integrate and run analytics on data sets using technologies that are not only freely available and ‘open’, but that are also maintained by an established Standards Development Organization (SDO). OGC also has various domain working groups currently advancing solutions that would complement the work done in Big Data Hubs.

The OGC is an international voluntary SDO that provides a broad interface with over 500 industry, government, academia, and research organizations engaged in advancing standards to improve geospatial interoperability. OGC’s standards are implemented in hundreds of products to improve the discovery, sharing, access, fusion, and application of location-based information. In addition to its proven consensus process for advancing open standards, OGC - via its Innovation Program - provides a venue in which to prototype in an agile, collaborative environment. It has developed more than 90 initiatives in the last 17 years.

OGC’s Innovation Program Initiatives have helped advance technology solutions that deal with important challenges, such as those rising from continued population increase. Most recently, OGC’s Future City Pilot Initiative created technologies that aid in the provision of adult health services using multi-source data analytics (you can learn more in this 5 minute video on OGC’s Future City Pilot).

An OGC initiative could help prototype and design a solution for Big Data Spokes, based on open standards, that could be further implemented in a Data Hub. An OGC initiative has five phases:

Phase 1 - Concept Development: OGC gathers requirements and proposes an initial systems architecture. Phase 2 - Call for Participation (CFP): OGC publicly invites industry and non-industry organizations worldwide to participate in the Initiative to develop the components of the architecture. Phase 3 - Team Formation and Kick-off: The OGC evaluation team selects participants. Selected participants meet face to face at the initiative kick-off meeting to coordinate on the development, testing, and demonstration process. Phase 4 - Execution: Participants engage virtually through frequent teleconferences, net meetings, and email exchanges to discuss progress and to identify and resolve issues. Phase 5 - Reporting, Demonstration and Outreach: Technology demonstrations occur at the end of the Initiative to showcase the major accomplishments. Engineering reports and other artifacts are written that identify and summarize the resulting technologies.

The completion of such an initiative would result in a proven solution that can be implemented in a Big Data Hub to help automate Big Data lifecycles, and support, for example, Smart Cities or Health related challenges.

If you want to learn more about how to partner with OGC for the NSF Big Data Spokes, or other solicitations, please contact Luis Bermudez, Executive Director of the OGC Innovation Program (lbermudez at opengeosptial.org).

Original author: Luis Bermudez
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Our newest OGC staff member: Marie-Françoise Voidrot

Marie-Françoise Voidrot

Today I am honored to join the staff of OGC Europe as Europe Director of the Innovation Program, and to contribute more intensively to the development of OGC activities.

Prior to joining OGCE staff I worked with Meteo-France, the French national weather service. While working there, I was a project manager of weather information systems for meteorological forecasters, with major customers like the CNES, the French Armed Forces, Air France, etc., and, more recently, for mass market consumption via the Internet and mobile apps.

As an OGC member, I have contributed to the definition of the MetOcean Domain Working Group that I have co-chaired with Chris Little since 2009. Together, we have helped the definition of common terms of reference for a relationship with the World Meteorological Organization that supports both hydrological and meteorological standards development.

I have been involved in the organisation of several annual workshops within the Met Community to gather the issues identified by the developers, while providing Met Ocean data with OGC standards to several spatial data infrastructures, including INSPIRE and SESAR. Met Ocean data is complex, inherently spatial, temporal, and constantly changing. It is big, heterogeneous, and multi dimensional - including multiple time attributes. Another source of complexity is the very demanding level of service, as these data are used for critical safety purposes, and are essential for major business activities.

The MetOcean DWG provides an open forum to work on meteorological data interoperability, and a route to publication through OGC's standards ladder (Discussion paper -> Best Practice -> Standard -> [and if appropriate] ISO status), and giving a route for submission to WMO CBS for adoption. Since 2009, the DWG has produced several Best Practice documents (available on the MetOcean DWG wiki) and multiple presentations to further knowledge and understanding of the complexity of these environmental data.

As further background, I have a Master’s Degree in Computer Sciences from Ecole Centrale Paris, and a Master’s Degree in meteorology from the Ecole Nationale de la Meteorologie (French National School of Meteorology). I am trilingual (French, Spanish, and English), and am located in Toulouse, France.

As a new OGCE staff member, my first focus will be on the NextGEOSS, which fits perfectly with my experience. NextGEOSS aims to develop GEOSS into a next-generation data hub, and increase the use of Earth Observation data to better support decision making.

If you would like to get in contact with Marie-Françoise to offer congratulations or discuss the MetOcean DWG, NextGEOSS, or other OGC activities, she can be reached at mvoidrot [at] opengeospatial.org, or on Twitter @twitt_mfv.

Original author: Marie-Francoise Voidrot
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Innovation Principles

The OGC Innovation Program provides a collaborative agile process for advancing new technologies. Since 1999, 95 initiatives have taken place, from multi-million dollar testbeds (such as Testbed 12) to in-kind interoperability experiments. During these initiatives, sponsors and technology implementers come together to solve problems, produce prototypes, develop demonstrations, provide best practices, and advance the future of standards.

The first Innovation Program initiative was in 1999, when the Web Mapping Testbed took place and helped to develop the most popular OGC standard: the Web Map Service (WMS). Today, hundreds of thousands of data layers are available via WMS, and more than ten thousand articles are available related to this subject.

OGC Testbed 12 Video

Testbed 12 (2017) was a US $ 3.6 Million initiative that brought together 30 organizations and 210 individuals from around the world. 82 components (e.g. servers, clients) were developed, and 51 documents were produced.

Recent OGC initiatives helped advance the Geopackage encoding format, which allows users to store terabytes of data, including features and tiles, and synchronize that data with mobile devices for use in offline environments. This new OGC standard is based on modern databases, like SQLite, and is currently supported by more than 20 tools:

GDAL SpatialLite OpenJUMP PLUS
QGIS GeoServer TerraExplorer for Mobile
Luciad FME Safe Software Compusult Go Mobile
Esri GeoTools INTERLIS ili2gpkg
NGA Geopackage Mobile TerraGo Carmenta Engine
Envita ERDC RGI Library PB MapInfo and Map Extreme

Driving Innovation at OGC

After I became the Executive Director of OGC’s recently renamed ‘Innovation Program’ in March 2017, I delved into its history and processes to better understand the success of this program: how do Innovation Program initiatives help advance innovation; and what makes OGC succeed in developing, say, a standard to share maps over the Web, or an encoding that can be used in any mobile application?

Peter Diamandis, one the biggest innovators of our time, founder of the XPRIZE Foundation and best selling author, summarized 8 innovation principles inspired by Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube at Google. These are a practical set of principles that, I think, apply to OGC and can help answer the question of why the Innovation Program works so well:

Focus on the user: The users for the innovation program are the sponsors who ultimately care for their constituents and the customers using their data. NGA, for example, cares about providing the best geospatial intelligence information. NASA cares about the use of Earth Observation data. FAA and Eurocontrol want to improve the interoperability of data used in air transportation. OGC brings sponsors’ requirements and distills them into open architectures and open standards. We make sure we develop solutions where the user is getting data in the proper way in the proper format.

Open will win: OGC has always taken an ‘open’ approach to everything it does: all of its Standards are open and free to use; its initiatives are open; the software used by the validation tools is open source. The calls for participation of sponsors or funded participants are advertised to the world. The results of OGC initiatives (e.g. videos and reports) are open: anybody can use this material without paying any cost or being concerned about intellectual property rights. OGC is using GitHub for writing standards and reports, as well as making available the tests and validation tools.

Think big, but start small: We believe in a world in which everyone benefits from the use of geospatial information and supporting technologies across different domains. We break initiatives down into concrete themes that represent their applications and/or domains. For example, the Future City Pilot used 3D open standards to demonstrate how they can aid in supporting responses to urban flooding, and in land development planning, as well as provide better adult social care based on conditions provided by environmental data.

Spark with imagination, fuel with data: Sponsors and participants in OGC initiatives come together to provide innovative ideas. Getting a sense of what is a popular standard is important. OGC provides a self-registration implementation database that can serve as a proxy for the level of maturity of a standard. This data helps sponsors think about what should come next: address the gaps or make improvements?

Never fail to fail: Rapid iteration is key. OGC initiatives provide the environment to test, fail, and improve. During an initiative, solutions are tested and discussed in weekly telecons. Integration experiments are frequently run to make sure that clients and servers can communicate.

Be a platform: OGC provides the process for using standards as a baseline for innovation (see George Percivall’s recent blog post about Innovations and Standards), but OGC is more than a standards organization. The Innovation Program provides the process to run initiatives in a manner unseen in other organizations. We are continuously improving the process so it can be replicated all over the world (for example, OGC’s Indian Plugfest). We are the platform that brings together experts from around the world to solve challenging problems in an agile prototyping environment and to advance open architectures and standards.

Have a mission that matters. The OGC mission is the reason why staff, members, and those involved in initiatives like to be part of OGC. Advancing geospatial interoperability makes our world more sustainable and enjoyable, and helps first responders save more lives. Sponsors of, and participants in, initiatives make a genuine contribution to the well-being of our planet, and the people that live on it.

I’m more than excited to lead this program and be part of such an important mission. If you want to advance innovation in the geospatial domain, want to become a sponsor or to sign-up for future funding opportunities, please send me an email: lbermudez [at] opengeospatial.org.

 

Original author: Luis Bermudez
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