[OSGeo-Discuss] OSGEO & OGC spec development

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Tue Jul 17 10:50:18 PDT 2007

One of my biggest problems with the OGC is the lack of a practical membership avenue for open source projects and/or programmers. I think it would be great if the OSGeo or some of its participating projects could serve as a vehicle that would allow for more participation by the open source community in OGC standard development.


The Sunburned Surveyor



From: discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Jeroen Ticheler
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 2:12 PM
To: OSGeo Discussions
Subject: [OSGeo-Discuss] OSGEO & OGC spec development


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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