[OSGeo-Standards] In what ways do you feel you are restricted from working with OGC today?

Landon Blake lblake at ksninc.com
Wed Aug 22 11:08:16 EDT 2007

Jody wrote: "Pay To Play"

This is definitely an obstacle for most open source projects. For
example, at the JUMP Pilot Project we have an annual operating budget
of... wait a minute, we don't even have an annual operating budget. :]

All joking aside, a lot of our contributions at the JPP come from
developers that are employed by universities, or who are involved with
GIS at some level in their secular employment but work on OpenJUMP in
their off time. I can understand that the OGC wouldn't want to have
companies setting up an open source GIS project to avoid paying
membership fees, but I can't imagine this would be a huge problem.

Imagine for a minute asking your wife if you could send a check for
$500.00 to the OGC and trying to provide an explanation. :]

I would really love to see a avenue or mechanism for open source
developers to participate in the OGC process. I think the OSGeo might be
able to serve some role in this. How this can be done in a fair manner
may be another question. It is important to remember that most open
source developers do not receive direct financial gain from their work,
nor would they do so from their involvement in the OGC.

Jody wrote: "Hard to see when a standard is being worked on."

Let me give an example of the difficulty in this area, just to back up
Jody's comments. Let's say I'm brainstorming on some functionality I
would like to add to OpenJUMP. Maybe I want to add support for text
labels, linear referencing (route stationing), or image hotlinking. How
do I find out if there is an OGC standard that I can work with? How do I
find out if there are plans for an OGC standard? 

Maybe we could have a coordinator that announced plans for OGC standards
under development at the OSGeo Discussion Mailing List.

Jody wrote: "Hard to see when a standard is DEAD."

Why does a standard die? Is it because there isn't enough interest in
developing the standard, or is it because the technical challenges are
too great? This is something I would be interested in hearing more

The Sunburned Surveyor

-----Original Message-----
From: standards-bounces at lists.osgeo.org
[mailto:standards-bounces at lists.osgeo.org] On Behalf Of Jody Garnett
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 6:10 PM
To: standards at lists.osgeo.org
Subject: [OSGeo-Standards] In what ways do you feel you are restricted
from working with OGC today? 

There are a couple of restrictions:
- pay to play
- hard to see when a standard is being worked on
- hard to see when a standard is DEAD

Until very recently I did not have any "above the table" access to ISO 
Specifications. So I spent my time coding against GeoAPI interfaces, 
teasing meaning out of OGC interpretations of ISO standards and sifting 
through summaries provided by others on the email list. Tiring. Whenever

"under the table" access was presented as an option I always said no - 
wanting to be sure that the interfaces and work I was doing was 

Is this OGC problem? Nope. They are starting to refer to ISO standards 
however; and the more they integrate the further the door closes to good

open source implementations.  Making some geometry implementations to 
mirror GML for example is only happening *now*, even though GML is a 
nice open standard - without reference to ISO 19107 you have a hard time

implementing it.

The other way my work is hindered with the OGC is the usual delay 
between releases. SLD 1.0 vanished into a black hole for years. It would

be nice to contribute to a host of standards (SLD, WMS, FPS,WFS,WMC, OWC

and so on) but not for $500 out of pocket, and even if my pocket is that

deep we tend to play the open source game as collaborators - I cannot 
tax my development community with $500 each just to see what a working 
group is (or is not) up to.

Finally it is hard to recognize from outside when a standard is DEAD. We

spent a lot of time on a "Grid Coverage Exchange" standard only to 
realize much later that it was dead. What was are hint? When other 
related standards (like WCS) started referring directly to the ISO 
document for coverages - dodging the OGC;s earlier attempt at the same 
ground. Oh wait was that was an  ISO number again - looks like a good 
coverage api will be delayed again.


Being an observer on a working group mailing list or some such was often

*just* the right amount of involvement. It allowed both communities to 
profit from the relationship (we could see what was going on, and a 
working group could have us try out some of their wild ideas and get 
early feedback).


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