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The Proven Benefits of OGC Standards

By [email protected] - 11th January 2010 - 16:11

The population of end users who benefit from the use of OGC standards today is global - much to the credit of the growing complement of geospatial technology practitioners in organizations who have been advancing OGC standards as members. As our members envisioned, uptake of OGC standards is now sufficient to make further deployment inevitable. In one user domain after another, \"it just makes sense\" to extend standards-based Internet and Web resources with geospatial data and processing services. It\'s not hard. It just requires using software equipped with interfaces that implement OGC\'s open standards.
The following represent just a few examples of the capabilities and benefits being reaped as a result of implementing OGC standards.Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is not an OGCmember, but its website features a growing number of interactive mapping applications that implement OGC standards. SLEWS, a prototype Landslide Monitoring and Early Warning System, is being developed in Germany by a team that includes just one OGC member. Dan Mandl, EO-1 Mission Manager at NASA\'s Goddard Space Flight Center, sees cost savings and flexibility that enable his team to do more despite a shrinking budget. Kylie Armstrong, Manager, Business Programs, Landgate, Western Australia, sees no other way to effectively access and fuse data from multiple agencies for decision making in Western Australia. Andrew Terhorst at CSIRO\'s Tasmanian ICT Centre is implementing a hydrological sensor web on OGC\'s open platform, and this is enabling much faster and more comprehensive observation, understanding and prediction of water quality and floods and droughts. Stewart Robinson, energy resourcesconsultant, Energy Development Unit, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, United Kingdom, oversees a transition to XML-based forms for geospatial data, and OGC provides the required international standards. In these countries and in many other countries, agencies at lower levels of government are following the lead of federal agencies, resulting in the coherent National Spatial Data Infrastructures that were first envisioned twenty years ago.In virtually all such situations, one motivating factor is that governments and businesses are trying to manage on reduced budgets. OGC standards are helping organizations extend the lives of legacy systems, quickly deploy new capabilities, and acquire service components that previously were available only as part of expensive multi-feature packages.Benefits have been carefully documented in at least two studies. The 2005 \" Geospatial Interoperability Return on Investment Study\" by Booz Allen Hamilton for the NASA Geospatial Interoperability Office showed that there is asignificant improvement when using open standards over proprietary standards. The project in the study that implemented geospatial interoperability standards had a risk-adjusted ROI, or \"Savings to Investment,\" ratio of 119.0% over the 5 year project life cycle. This project saved 26.2% compared to the project that relied upon a proprietary standard. And a 2007 study by the Centre of Land Policy and Valuations of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya showed that the initial investment to set up the IDEC SDI was recovered in just 4 months, or 6 months if the operating costs for 2004-05 are also included. The mix of OGC standards and web services helped them to meet their goals and accelerate payback of costs.Technology offerers are benefiting as well - now able to compete in markets that they were previously \"locked out of\" because customers\' choices were limited by proprietary interfaces and encodings.OGC has continued to grow throughout the current recession. This trend shows that our standards as well as our proven, repeatable processes have value during hard times. Agencies and businesses seeking improved interoperability in technology domains and application domains see OGC as the fastest, cheapest, best and often the only way to solve their geospatial interoperability problems. As more domains become spatially enabled, the remaining areas of non-interoperability become the focus of attention. And as awareness grows, people see the connection between geospatial interoperability and cost savings in other domains like urban planning, mortgage and real estate, climate change and smart grid.I encourage visitors to our website to look at our new \"Endorsements\" page, which includes comments from just a few of the user organizations that have embraced OGC standards. And, once again, I encourage readers to consider expanding this page by providing an image and brief paragraph to help build public awareness of the value that our standards and processes are providing.

Author: Mark Reichardt

Bio.: Pesident and CEO, Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.

For more information visit:


Geospatial Interoperability Return on Investment Study

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya 2007 Study

Open Geospatial Consortium. Inc.

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