[OSGeo-Standards] OGC liaison memberships

Adrian Custer acuster at gmail.com
Sat Jun 1 05:48:44 PDT 2013

On 6/1/13 8:15 AM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
> I'm moving this email thread from discuss at lists.osgeo.org to
> standards at lists.osgeo.org.

Okay, Hello everyone,

> Adrian,
> It is a good idea for OSGeo members have the opportunity to participate
> in OGC activities, and have a voice to air OSGeo opinions and concerns.

Yes, that was the purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding.

> I think that we are already reasonably close to having that goal.
> * OSGeo members can get access to OGC through the 5 OGC membership slots
> on offer [1].
> * OGC did disseminate OSGeo's "Open Letter re Geoservices REST API".

Okay, so we agree the goal of 'having an opportunity to participate' has 
been met.

> What is missing is an opportunity to share OGC information with the
> general public, which in turn would give the general public the
> opportunity to comment and provide feedback. (This is a general OGC
> issue to address, as the OGC use "access to OGC" as a means to attract
> funded members).

Right, it is an OGC problem. It also arose from ancient Imaginary 
Property concerns from the early participants who wanted re-assurance 
about the consequences of their participation in the discussions. Given 
the past decade long history where none of that has been an issue, 
perhaps that concern can now be put to rest. I have been pushing the OGC 
on this for a few years now.

> Currently OSGeo doesn't have a vote at the OGC, which is something we
> might want to ask for. If we are to ask for a vote from OGC, we would
> need to be confident that we would have volunteers with sufficient time
> to review the material required to vote. Such reviewing will take quite
> a bit of time, but if we have volunteers willing to do the work, I think
> we have a good case to ask for such a vote.

That is a good point, that we might want to do preparation on our side. 
Because the volume of work is such that *no one* actually reads all the 
standards (probably not even the OGC Architecture Board), OGC policy 
usually proceeds by objection. So our work might be limited to informing 
OSGeo about upcoming votes and asking for any reactions. The absence of 
reactions is indication of the lack of opposition.

> With regards to developing standards, I think it valuable for OSGeo
> members to be involved in standards development, but that already
> happens. (OSGeo members take part in OGC testbeds, using OGC processes).
> I don't think it appropriate for OSGeo to develop standards outside of
> the OGC.

Why not? There are lots of cases for it. For example, the 'Shapefile' 
standard has never been published. I feel it is entirely appropriate for 
the collective wisdom of free software implementations to come up with 
the 'Openshape Fileset Standard' which completes the published ESRI spec 
to have a full specification. The expertise on this is just as much here 
as at the OGC. Similarly, GeoPNG seems like a better fit here than at 
the OGC.

That is not to say that these standards must live here forever. They 
might well then be taken over by the OGC just like some OGC Standards 
are republished as ISO standadards.

> I suggest the way to move forward is for OSGeo to propose a process,
> which is approved at the next board meeting on 6 June, and which the
> board forwards onto OGC.

A process for what?

> Adrian, I suggest you start by putting together such a proposal which we
> can refine, then include at [1].

A proposal for what?

The only work I want to do right now on this front is

(1) get a membership (either paid by me or one of the OSGeo memberships) 
and start writing up trimesterly 'updates on the OGC' for the OSGeo 
membership, and

(2) write up 'GeoPNG' ('GeoTIFF' like extensions for PNG) and the 
'Openshape Fileset Standard' (which finally completes the Shapefile 
standard for all the implementation details, and may standardize index 

When those are written, I hope to canvas the OSGeo membership for 
feedback, analysis, and enthusiasm. If no one cares, then they will not 
live here, and may become addenda to the WMS 2.0 standards. If OSGeo 
folk like them and want to implement them, then they can live here. 
GeoPNG is my own creation, Openshape however arises from the collective 
experience here (cough Frank cough) and so makes the most sense as 
living at OSGeo.

The only question right now is where the drafts live. Once they take 
concrete form, they will live on a family server, pocz.org. If OSGeo 
wants, they could move to the OSGeo space. The latter would give extra 
weight to OSGeo, the former is totally neutral. The only hiccup is that 
the drafts are written in HTML not in .doc (OGC style) or in wiki (OSGeo 
style); I don't know where html can live at OSGeo.


PS. We are waiting for arnulf who seems to be on one of his 'retreats 
from the Internet' right now; he'll re-appear, bye and bye.

> [1] http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/OGC_membership
> On 01/06/13 01:54, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>> Hi Adrian,
>> I agree, let's get you moving on this, so, comments inline below:
>> On 2013-05-31 10:45 AM, Adrian Custer wrote:
>>> Hey all,
>>> On the front of becoming one of the liaison members, I would appreciate
>>> guidance on procedure. Do we generate a formal letter to me and the OGC
>>> or do we not yet have any procedure for this? I have just now asked
>>> Barbara Sherman of the OGC if she is aware of any procedure on her end.
>>> I would like to get this squared away quickly and easily.
>> See Frank's earlier response.  Arnulf and Mike are currently managing
>> this, so, usually someone like Arnulf will send an email (CCing you) to
>> Barbara at OGC referring you for one of the Associate memberships.
>> Arnulf can you do this for Adrian?  (with you and Mike's approval of
>> course)
>> Note that my Associate membership was renewed on 11 April.
>> I feel that having someone like you championing our efforts will help me
>> also to get more involved in the Standards.
>>> On the front of OSGeo building deeper ties with the OGC and, perhaps
>>> becoming a voting member someday, I think we should move forwards on a
>>> number of fronts jointly.
>> Becoming a voting member would greatly help the feeling of being
>> involved, and give the OSGeo foundation a stronger voice in standards
>> development.
>>> The first is clearly discussion and openness, letting Carl, the head of
>>> the TC and Mark, the president of the OGC both know that this is
>>> something we are seeking and towards which we plan to work.
>> Agreed.
>>> A second front might be to become more active on the Standards Front.
>>> There has been some recent interest in OSGeo taking on some Standards
>>> related activity, where certainly being vocal and offering productive
>>> critiques could be productive. It may also prove useful to do more. For
>>> example, I am planning to write up a number of format standards in the
>>> next six months and so it might make sense for me to develop some of
>>> them within OSGeo. The standards would require buy in from this
>>> community anyhow, so perhaps developing them here would give this
>>> community some more leverage in the Standards game. I'll do the bulk of
>>> the work first and then get back to you all on whether they make sense
>>> at OSGeo and how they could start life here. In the interim, OSGeo might
>>> consider how it could host 'standards focused projects' rather than
>>> 'software focused projects' or 'community focused projects'. I'm not
>>> sure that requires more work than agreeing it should be allowed. It
>>> could be part of 'labs' to stay informal or some other procedure might
>>> be invented.
>> re: standards: I've also heard some back-channel talk of standards
>> activity within OSGeo.  Whatever we do though, as you said earlier it's
>> very important that we work closely with Carl and the OGC (we have an
>> MoU signed with the OGC so that this can happen).
>> re: projects: I feel that your passion will help us in being more open
>> to projects in general.  As you've said before to me, we're part of a
>> larger community and we must realize this.   (I don't have the answers
>> in how we do this specifically, but, keeping this in the back of our/my
>> minds is the first step I feel)
>> -jeff
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> Discuss at lists.osgeo.org
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

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