Open Geospatial TC meeting in Rocketville

Marshall Institute

It is not often you get driving instructions which use Rockets as landmarks, but picking up my hire car I was told to turn of the highway when I went passed the Saturn V !

Huntsville is very much a town with technology at it’s heart, home to the Marshall Space Centre, and numerous defence companies including from the world of GI, Intergraph.

Yesterday was the first day of the Technical Committee meeting of the OGC, I try to attend at least one a year, although the OS is always represented. For the newcomer the consensus approach of a standards organisation can appear to be mind-numbing, with formal processes and much intense study of detailed technical documentation. From this intense work however has come the key standards for geospatial interoperability, the Web Map and Feature Services and Geographic Mark-up Language.

It can be argued that OGC standards are less relevant with the emergence of GMY’s popular and proprietary mapping applications. However the counter argument to this is that all this applications are really only as good as the data in them, and once you start wanting to obtain more local information from 3rd party sources, interoperability will become a real issue, and Google are attending their first OGC meeting here in Huntsville.

The real challenge for the OGC will be to see our quickly it can adopt a rapidly developing standard that is emerging from the blogosphere GeoRSS – more details later this week – watch this space !

Written and submitted from The Marriott Hotel, Huntsville, using the hotel in-room internet connection.


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.