[OSGeo-Discuss] The OSGeo response to the proposed "GeoServices REST API" document [was: Would you be concerned ...]

Alex Mandel tech_dev at wildintellect.com
Thu May 9 12:32:27 PDT 2013


Thanks for the in depth review. I admit I haven't read the document over 
thoroughly but even without doing so there are some obvious concerns.

 From a user perspective (my user), this appears to be a push to get 
their way of doing things stamped as a standard so they can let their 
users (e.g. government agencies) claim compliance with Open Standards 
without having to use WxS. I can see this first hand with my own 
personal experience trying to get WFS/GML to work with Arc (supposedly 
supported with special add ons) and government agencies thinking if they 
put up an Arc Service they've done their duty:
(Note the confusing url that implies MapServer software, and the lack of 
any non ESRI web service on the page)
To me it looks like they are trying to get out of spending the money to 
fix their products so they place nice with all the existing services.

I agree though, that simply turning ESRI away isn't a solution either, 
at least they came to the same standards body unlike the OASIS/ISO 
debacle over Office formats. Is there someone in the OGC community that 
could reach out and negotiate a plan to merge their work and ideas with 
the existing standards instead of creating a direct competition to what 
is already widely adopted. If they really want it to be a standard they 
have to be willing to compromise on some feature to make it more 
interoperable, in a sense kml did this by not including all the 
possibilities in the original spec.

I also agree 50+1 is a bad bar for a standards body. Which reminds me 
that I dropped the ball on renewing my institution’s membership (though 
I don't think it had voting rights).


On 05/09/2013 10:56 AM, Adrian Custer wrote:
> On 5/9/13 2:33 PM, Tim Bowden wrote:
>> On Thu, 2013-05-09 at 13:20 -0300, Adrian Custer wrote:
>>> Hey Cameron, all,
>> ...
>>>     * The letter is only rejection of the proposal without offering an
>>>       alternative way forwards.
>> I strongly suspect the proposed standard would have received a much
>> better reception from the broader OSGeo community (with the diverse
>> viewpoints it typically has) if the proposal was more that a "take it or
>> leave it" (partial?) description of what ESRI has done and is going to
>> do anyway.
> Undoubtedly. This was as undiplomatic as they could have been.
> If there was at least some willingness to engage with the
>> broader community on interoperability within the standard (and how do
>> you have interoperability if you aren't willing to budge from a
>> pre-defined position anyway?).
> And there would have been more participation at the OGC. Lots of folk
> were excited at the start but gave up when backwards compatibility was
> set in stone.
>> Perhaps ESRI didn't realise their approach was going to come across with
>> an "up you" attitude (or maybe they did)?  The impression I've got it
>> that many people feel ESRI is treating the OGC as a "rubber stamp" body
>> (which very much implies arrogant contempt) regardless of the merits of
>> the proposal.
> Much more likely, ESRI is trying to "push through" its standard,
> distinct from expecting the OGC to 'rubber stamp' it.
> They knew from the get go they were going to face this opposition. The
> only question is who is stronger.
> This is a good example of the limits of governance at the OGC. Really, a
> standard should not pass when there is concerted opposition to it. The
> process is designed to suspend when there is opposition (2 no votes), in
> an effort to build consensus. However, the ultimate decision is still a
> 50% + 1 vote; probably, it should be a super-majority of some kind.
> Hopefully I've got it wrong and ESRI really just botched
>> their approach on this one (why do I feel this is naive wishful
>> thinking?).
>> FWIW, I don't believe having an alternate incompatible standard must of
>> itself be a deal breaker, if the proposed standard genuinely represents
>> a viable attempt at interoperability.  After all, the wonderful thing
>> about standards is there are so many to choose from.  ;)  Lets just not
>> pretend it's about genuine interoperability unless that really is the
>> case.
> I doubt anyone is that naive.
>> Regards,
>> Tim Bowden
> cheers,
>    ~adrian
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