To Directions Editor:
This letter is in response to the article titled "OGC: Near The Tipping Point" by Dave Sonnen.
As a long-time member of the geospatial community and an ongoing advocate of OGC and open standards, I was extremely disappointed to read Mr.Sonnen's article.I won't waste your time and mine in addressing all of the things that are vague, superficial, irresponsible, unsubstantiated, and basically wrong about this article - many of my colleagues have already detailed these very astutely.On the other hand, I would like to point out some very important facts about OGC's tremendous accomplishments through the years so that you can assess for yourself its value to the community as a whole.
1.As a standards organization, OGC has brought together a diverse membership from all over the world to work toward the common goal of Open GIS standards.Over 250 members of the geospatial community have chosen to be a part of this organization. Partners, competitors, academics, industry organizations, innovators, industry leaders, and small and large companies have all come together to advance the formulation and acceptance of open standards.In a membership that reaches from Serbia, to Korea, to Colombia, to the United States, these members have all chosen to participate in OGC's mission.
2.Organizations such as AGILE, GITA, ISO, STIA, and more have chosen to partner with OGC to advance specification development and raise awareness and take up of Open GIS specifications in the community.Through mutual collaboration with these partners, the industry again benefits from OGC efforts.
3.OGC members continue to work diligently to provide open standards to the industry.With the Internet rapidly shaping data access and processing requirements, the need for open, extensible distributed geoprocessing and geodata access is more important than ever.The availability of Web Map Server, Web Feature Server, and other related OGC interfaces gives our industry the capability to provide products that meet the needs of Internet GIS computing.
4.OGC and its members have produced over a dozen adopted standards and more than 20 standards in various stages of development. More than 175 products are registered as compliant or implementing many of these specifications (www.opengis.org/resources/?page=products).
5.OGC has promoted an environment of working together, which has enabled and encouraged interoperability initiatives, grants, standards, and sharing between many companies and organizations throughout the industry.Recent customer-driven interoperability initiatives in which we collaborated with other industry vendors have been extremely successful, and the OGC consensus framework has helped us to come together as partners.
6.The OGC Interoperability Program in processes approved by the membership encourages broad participation in developing potentially new specifications, validation of those specifications in reference implementations of technologies, and demonstration of the capabilities inclusive in the user-driven process to develop, test, demonstrate, and promote the use of OpenGIS Specifications.These specifications make it possible for technology providers to meet their customers' needs for efficient discovery, access, sharing and use of geospatial data and geospatial processing services.
7.The OGC Interoperability Program has member-approved processes for organizing and facilitating the following types of Interoperability Initiatives: test beds, pilot projects, Interoperability Planning Studies, and the OGCNetwork.Acting on behalf of sponsors and their requirements, OGC manages an industry-wide call (RFT/RFQ) to encourage extensive participation in developing potentially new specifications, validating those specifications in reference implementations of technologies, and demonstrating the capabilities.
Web Mapping Testbed Phase 1 (WMT1), Geospatial Fusion Testbed (GFS), Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna Pilot Project (USL Pilot), Web Mapping Testbed Phase 2 (WMT2), Civil Works Technology Insertion, Phase 1 (CTI-1), Military Pilot Project Testbed, Phase 1 (MPP-1), North Rhine Westphalia Pilot (NRWPP), Geospatial Fusion Pilot Project (GSF PP), FGDC Web Mapping CAP Support, Location Services Testbed (OpenLS Testbed), OGC Web Services (OWS) Initiative 1.1, Multihazard Mapping Initiative, Phase 1 (MMI-1), Object Domain Modeling Support Initiative (ODMS), OGC Web Services Thread Set 2 (OWS 1.2), Geospatial Info.for Sustainable Development Initial Capability Pilot (GISD-ICP), Geographic Objects Initiative 1 (GO-1), Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI-1.1), Geospatial One-Stop - Portal Initiative (GOS-PI), Conformance and Interoperability Test and Evaluation (CITE), Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI-1.2), Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI-2), Geospatial One-Stop - Transportation Pilot (GOS-TP).
Future initiatives include: OGC Web Services Phase 2 (OWS-2), Emergency Mapping Symbology Initiative (EMS), OGC Property and Land Initiative.
In summary, I don't know any contributing member of the geospatial community who can disagree with the fundamental and positive change that the OGC has created within this industry.With the depth and breadth of their numerous accomplishments, OGC has made an incredibly positive impact on the geospatial industry and is an essential voice for the role standards will play in a brighter future for the geospatial community. Users, who will be able to access the best technology regardless of data format, and vendors who can broaden their reach, will benefit by a market that continues to grow and embrace non-traditional applications.I encourage all members and non-members to actively participate in the OGC processes and become involved in directing the future of our community.If a member or non-member has issues with any of these processes, as a board member for OGC, I pledge to help work through any questions there may be.But I also challenge you to come forward in an open exchange and work with OGC and its members for the collective benefit of the community and open standards.
President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions