22 February 2019: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) seeks public comment on the draft Charter for a proposed Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (BDLT) Domain Working Group (DWG).
Distributed Ledgers are collections of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital records that are stored across multiple sites. The technologies used to implement such ledgers (Distributed Ledger Technologies aka DLT) include the Blockchain, which is a digital ledger of records arranged into linked and cryptologically-validated chunks of data called blocks. By far the most widely cited application of Blockchain technology is in the finance sector where it can be used as a cryptocurrency, the two most notable examples being Bitcoin and Ethereum.
However, other applications for DLT and Blockchain are now gaining popularity. There is potential use of DLT in, for example, land registration, city services, space, pan-government registries, and justice. Location can play a key role in many of these application areas. For example: the location of financial transactions can determine what taxes apply; the location of the boundary of a property forms the basis of its registration; and the location where evidence is discovered in a crime scene can have an impact on judicial proceedings.
At present, there are numerous DLT services and networks available. There is however no standard for how those DLT should encode geospatial information such as locations, coordinates, and coordinate reference systems. The various DLT have therefore implemented ad hoc geo-encoding approaches. This situation is likely to lead to a problem of limited interoperability between information held in different DLT networks.
Given the immutable nature of Blockchain and DLT, the need for standardization of the information encoded within them is time-critical: any poorly encoded geographic information will remain inherent to a given ledger for as long as it is in use.
The purpose of the BDLT DWG is to build understanding of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies, as well as the potential requirements for geospatial standardization within those technologies. Further, the BDLT DWG will identify gaps and issues that should be addressed to improve geospatial standardization in Blockchain and DLT.
In October 2018, OGC published the Discussion Paper Geospatial Standardization of Distributed Ledger Technologies with the purpose of improving the understanding of Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. One recommendation of the Discussion Paper was to form the OGC BDLT DWG.
The Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies Domain Working Group draft charter is available for review and comment on the OGC Portal. Comments are due by 15th March 2019 and should be submitted via the method outlined on the Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Domain Working Group draft charter request page.
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