[OSGeo-Standards] Re: Standards review process

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 17:43:03 EST 2007

It is admirable that the OGC has a rigorous quality control process 
during standards development, however, I don't think quality would be 
compromised  by being more open.

Us software developers are very aware about the difference between a 
draft and fully released standard and we make design decisions accordingly.

The consequence of opening access to draft standards are:
+ The community may find bugs earlier. (More eyes finds more bugs).
+ Developers may implement draft standards before they are released. 
This will help identify issues with standards earlier. Upon release of 
the standard, it will be quicker to deploy compliant implementations of 
the standard.
- Developers may waste energy developing a draft standard which becomes 
superseded or significantly changed. It should be up to developers, not 
the OGC to decide whether to shoulder this risk. Developers solve use 
cases, and it is usually better to use a draft specification than to 
invent a new one.
- Communities won't have the same financial incentive to join OGC. (I 
don't think this will be a major concern).

Carl Reed OGC Account wrote:
> Christopher -
> I can understand your frustration.
> There was some confusion regarding this particular paper. However 
> please note that I authorized Arnulf to share r3 with the OSGeo 
> community. This authorization was based on the OGC members approving 
> the release if this paper for public use and comment.
> That said, any engineering report submitted by a member goes through 
> the following formal process:
> 1. Author(s) must post the new document to the OGC Pending Documents 
> archive.
> 2. There is a three week internal review period in which members can 
> review and comment on the document. In many ways, this is a quality 
> control step.
> 3. At this point, the members can approve the release of the 
> engineering report as a Discussion Paper or as a Best Practice paper. 
> This approval may be by an electronic vote (which takes another week) 
> or at an OGC face to face meeting. Approval of pubic release of any 
> engineering report is an OGC policy and is meant to again insure a 
> level of quality control and discussion.
> 4. Assuming the document is approved for release, Greg Buehler of OGC 
> staff and I then review the document and do a final quality control 
> check. Quite often, we need to work with the authors to correct 
> ambiguities in the document, This usually takes another one or two weeks.
> Now, to help the community at large know when a new document is 
> posted, the OGC will be implementing the ability to subscribe to 
> alerts via RSS whenever any new document is posted to the public OGC 
> archives. Arnulf made this suggestion and it was unanimously approved 
> by the OGC Planning Committee.
> Kind regards
> Carl Reed
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Christopher Schmidt" 
> <crschmidt at metacarta.com>
> To: <creed at opengeospatial.org>
> Cc: <standards at lists.osgeo.org>; "Peter Vretanos" 
> <pvretano at cubewerx.com>; "Edric Kieghan" <ekeighan at cubewerx.com>
> Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2007 11:52 AM
> Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: [OSGeo-Standards] OGC name for a tile cache]
>> On Tue, Dec 11, 2007 at 05:26:58AM -0500, creed at opengeospatial.org 
>> wrote:
>>> One of the OGC documents approved for public release is the Tiled WMS
>>> Discussion Paper. A Discussion Paper is not an official position of the
>>> OGC. A Discussion Paper is released for information, discussion, and
>>> comment. The Tiled WMS paper represents one proposal for how tiling 
>>> should
>>> be handled when using a WMS. There are obviously other approaches, 
>>> many of
>>> which have been discussed in the OGC WMS Revision Working Group.
>> Based on my understanding, the released Discussion Paper is not the most
>> recent effort in this direction, as Arnulf helpfully pointed out.
>> The lack of information that a followup discussion paper is being worked
>> on makes it difficult for groups to put together any serious coment had
>> I written comments based on the released discussion paper, they would
>> likely have been useless, since the more recent effort ('r3') pursues a
>> different direction for solving a similar problem.
>> The date on the 'r3' draft is 2007-11-13. My calendar shows it to be
>> more than a month later than that -- and still, there has been no
>> information published that I can find about the "OpenGIS® Web Map 
>> Tiling
>> Service Discussion Paper" other than through Arnulf posting to this
>> mailing list and sharing it with us directly on IRC. :)
>> The 'r3' draft -- again, provided by Arnulf, not OGC --  is actually
>> relatively comprehensive, but there are a number of points that I would
>> find it useful to discuss with the authors and the community at large.
>> However, I see no indication that there is a place to discuss or offer
>> feedback to the OGC -- only the authors emails are in either draft, so
>> far as I can tell. Without a feedback mechanism that is shared, 
>> community
>> feedback on a spec is likely to be limited at best. I seldom spend time
>> on email related to standards or open source development that isn't
>> shared: users who email me directly for assistance with OpenLayers, for
>> example, are redirected to the mailing list, where I will help them.
>> These type of things limit the feedback that the open source community
>> offers to the OGC developments. Perhaps this is acceptable to OGC:
>> since the paper is only a discussion paper, and not a specification,
>> perhaps community feedback is not being sought at this time. However,
>> not involving interested parties early and often is likely to cause pain
>> at some point along the line, and I think that it is important for the
>> OGC to recognize this, and seek to involve the community -- both open
>> source and proprietary -- at every step along the way in order to
>> develop the best specification possible.
>> When will the *current* tiled WMS work be released? That's what I'm
>> really interested in, more than anything else, at this point -- that,
>> and a mechanism by which comments can be submitted to it. The paper
>> itself says "It is distributed for review and comment." -- hopefully
>> such comments can be shared in a way that benefits all when possible.
>> Note that none of this is a direct critique of this Discussion Paper.
>> The comments in this email represent my frustration with OGC process as
>> I understand it -- and since I'm not an OGC member, the only vantage
>> point I have is from far outside the OGC community. Hopefully it will
>> just turn out that I'm misinformed, and that this is all a lot of
>> unneccesary chatter because I can't use Google. :)
>> Regards,
>> -- 
>> Christopher Schmidt
>> MetaCarta 
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Cameron Shorter
Geospatial Systems Architect
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254

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