OGC – Setting a new direction ?

Today I attended a meeting of around 30 UK based members of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), called by David Schell and Mark Reichardt who are in the UK to canvas the opinions of OGC members. This example of the OGC wanting to understand the point of view of members based this side of the pond is clearly commendable, many in our industry still see the OGC as a US-centric rather than a global organisation.

The OGC quite rightly see outreach as a key goal for the next year, and this was confirmed by the general sentiment of the meeting – indeed there was a very strong feeling that the OGC needs to concentrate less on the development and communication of technical interface standards, and focus on explaining the benefits of interoperability of geospatial systems in a business context.

“What does this mean for me.. ” is a core message to define in marketing any product or idea to potential customers and I guess we can all be guilty of concentrating on the technical details, leaving the poor customer behind. Are OGC guilty of this – well as somebody pointed out today, imagine if you were new to geographic information and you visited the OGC website.. would you be any wiser – I’m afraid not.

Full credit to David and Mark for taking these points onboard, the message from the UK seems to be – Concentrate more on the WHY not the HOW !!

Written and submitted from the Apple Store Regent Street, using its free 802.11 network.

4 replies on “OGC – Setting a new direction ?”

I would like to think that OGC will take on this message but I fear that they may still be driven by their need to recruit more members to increase their funding more than a mission to dramatically increase uptake and deployment of standards based applications.

Unfortunately the uptake on OGC standards may be hurt by the proliferation of easy to use web mapping such as Google Maps, Microsoft Live, Yahoo maps etc. In the old 80/20 adage these possible de facto standards are diluting the migration to OGC standards based services. The big problem is that currently we are again faced with the big disconnect. Commercial services by default make one way bridges and resist data export.

Unless OGC can sell its standards to these commercial de facto standards we are back to the old days of uncommunicative workstation GIS with the names changed to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo. Perhaps OGC should try to market at this level or failing that, attempt to sell bridges between the commercial web services and OGC standards based services.

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