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OGC Role in the International Marketplace

By [email protected] - 1st February 2008 - 11:48

The Chairman\'s Message from the OGC Newsletter January 2008 looks at the importance of international standards in the emerging SDI initiatives of China, India and other Asian markets.
We are fortunate that the OGC is widely recognized by the international community as having a key standards role in mainstream Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Major emerging markets as well as the technology communities of North America and Europe rely on OGC standards and best practices as an integral component of SDI (spatial data infrastructure) development.Evidence of this trend is the maturation of major Asian markets as represented by significant NSDI (national SDI) development activity in both India and China. The OGC has taken a strong interest in the use of OGC standards in emerging markets and has strategically responded to requests to explore stronger and more productive institutional and membership relations in both India and China.In developing our strategic approach to working in Asian markets, we see great potential and are optimistic that the Consortium and the \"cause\" of interoperability will significantly benefit in the long run. Much of what we learn in harmonizing OGC standards with geospatial interoperability requirements from these major markets will certainly bear on our ability to work more broadly across the Asian community. We also hope that this will stimulate OGC standards activity in other developing countries that have not yet developed thecapacity to work with OGC in the context of the global web service environment.To a great extent my optimism is based on experiences from a recent visit to Delhi. I had the opportunity to spend nearly two weeks working with OGC director Dr. Siva Kumar. Dr Kumar is the head of the NSDI division of India\'s Ministry of Science and Technology. We met with professionals from numerous public and private sector organizations and spoke with them extensively about OGC\'s potential for responding to the requirements of the Indian community.It became quite clear that through the collaborative efforts of our members and working with Indian service providers that it is possible to build the practical plug-and-play environment necessary for significant advancements in building spatial infrastructure at all levels.In particular India\'s Federal government is quite interested in the benefits of enhanced geo-interoperability among and between public sector institutions and programs. I found considerable interest in the possibility that OGC can play a role in groundbreaking projects designed to motivate grassroots development of communication and computing applications in the many thousands of Indian villages. I had the good fortune to visit some of these villages with Dr. Kumar and was impressed with the long term potential for the use of OGC standards to help enable basic capabilities that can empower local communities to do such things as build cadastres and manage their own water resources and finances.Last November, the State Key Lab of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing (LIESMARS) at Wuhan University, in cooperation with China\'s ISO TC/211 committee, hosted an OGC Symposium. The Symposium resulted from a meeting between Professor Deren Li, former Head of LIESMARS, Chairman of the Academic Committee of the University and member of the Chinese National Academies of Science and Engineering and OGC staff.Over 200 Chinese geospatial professionals attended the symposium. A primary objective of the Symposium was to educate key people in the Chinese geospatial community about OGC processes and standards. To do this, OGC member representatives gave presentations on numerous topics of interest to the Chinese geospatial community. A second objective was to initiate discussions between a delegation of OGC leadership and leaders of various organizations in the Chinese geospatial community about future working relationships. I was told informally that it may be that more OGC conformant products are used in China than anywhere else in the world. If this is so, the need for us to work with the Chinese community is clearly of great importance. OGC\'s delegation was comprised of OGC board members Mike Jackson and Bob Moses, and Carl Reed, the OGC Chief Technology Officer. OGC Director Steve Hagan participated as well, as did a number of OGC members.The meeting resulted in a general agreement that OGC should continue working with leaders of the Chinese geospatial community to structure an approach to understanding Chinese interoperability requirements and harmonizing the work being done in China with global standardization activities. Prof. Li and I are in the process of forming an appropriately representative committee to provide the governance policy for OGC activities in China and provide the mechanism by which working relationships will be created. This committee will be positioned to begin planning future events and the expansion of OGC membership and interoperability program activities in China. Work still is required to build and maintain these relationships.I personally feel that there is great value in these regional initiatives. At this point in our history, the most important role that OGC can play is to facilitate an effective response to enterprise interoperability requirements in the midst of uncertain globalization and highly varied procurement practices.David Schell, Chairman, OGCTo subscribe to the OGC News, send mail to:[email protected] \"subscribe\" (no quotes) in the subject.

Author: David Schell

Bio.: Chairman, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)

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