[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGEO & OGC spec development

Jeroen Ticheler Jeroen.Ticheler at fao.org
Mon Jul 16 14:12:24 PDT 2007

Hi all,
Last week I attended the Open Geospatial Consortium Technical  
Committee (OGC-TC) meeting in Paris.

For those not to familiar with this meeting, it consists of a series  
of Working Group (WG) meetings that mostly run around the development  
of specifications (or standards if you wish) dealing with geo- 
informatics. The most prominent specifications coming from OGC are  
Web Map Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS) and Geographic  
Markup Language (GML). There's a whole list of other specs available  
or under development. OSGEO projects work with a substantial number  
of them. See http://www.opengeospatial org for more details.

With this email I would like to touch upon two issues that I think  
are relevant to OSGEO. I hope bringing this up can trigger some  
discussion on how OSGEO would best benefit from the OGC spec  
development process:

1- Discussions related to Google's KML and Web Map Context
2- Discussions related to a Tiled Web Map Service specifications

There was discussion on the possibility that KML becomes an OGC  
specification and, more importantly, that it could be used to replace  
the wining Web Map Context (WMC) specification. A number of OSGEO  
projects use the Styled Layer Descriptors (SLD (symbology))  
specification and the WMC. There's a great deal of overlap between  
these and KML. It is likely in the interest of these projects to  
share their experience with OGC and see some of that reflected in  
future OGC specs.

There was also discussion about a new Tiled WMS specification. Such  
spec can have different forms, and could be conceived as a new spec  
or as an extension (or application profile) of a Web Map Service. Two  
approaches were presented and two other approaches were mentioned,  
among which the approach taken within the OSGEO community.

Observing these discussions, my impression is that OSGEO has an  
important role to play in the further development of these OGC specs.  
We can obviously take the easy route and let OGC go its way. We could  
than come up with in-house, open specifications that will compete  
with OGC specs still under development. The development of the specs  
is likely to be quicker than going through OGC. However, I feel that  
with limited effort by the community we can have a very positive  
influence on the OGC spec development. We can make sure experiences  
in OSGEO are reflected in the OGC specs. The WMS-T is an obvious  
example of this. It was kind of frustrating to not see that  
experience properly represented at the WMS-WG.

OSGEO is very young still, so frustration is not an expression of  
dissatisfaction in this case :-) rather, I think it might be time to  
establish a way to formally represent OSGEO in OGC. This could be  
through those OSGEO members that already hold a TC level membership  
to OGC (the logical first step I would think) and later possibly  
through a direct OSGEO TC Membership to OGC. Also, we could consider  
a focal point in OSGEO where specification development is discussed  
and coordinated. This may have the form of a Committee for instance.  
I'm hesitant to propose new Committees, but if there's enough  
interest to have a central coordination point dealing with standards  
and specs, it may make sense :-)

Greetings from Rome,

Jeroen Ticheler
Tel: +39 06 57056041
42.07420°N 12.34343°E

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