Toblerís Law and OGCís GovFuture

By Steven Ramage


Ed. note: A webinar on this topic, titled “ Location Standards – How Do They Help Government?” takes place this Thursday (June 2). The webinar will provide a case study from a GovFuture Subnational member working on Australia’s Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) information delivery system, plus a review of pertinent legal and policy issues and an introduction to the OGC.Tobler's first law of geography: "Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things." 
Tobler's first law of geography: "Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things." 
OGC’s GovFuture: A new low-cost level of OGC membership for decision makers in local and subnational governments
The OGC has become a global hub for geospatial thinking, networking and outreach.The OGC’s core mission is the integration of geospatial information into the world’s information infrastructures, including local, subnational and national information infrastructures. One goal to fulfill this mission is to develop technical standards and best practices that meet user requirements and market needs. Another goal, closely related to the value of membership in the OGC, is education and outreach. By promoting awareness and use of OGC standards, the OGC staff and board of directors make the members’ collaborative standards development efforts worthwhile. 
To expand OGC’s outreach and education offerings, the directors recently approved a new membership category, GovFuture Associate Membership, for professionals working in local and subnational (county, province, district, state, etc.) governments. GovFuture is designed to support users of geospatial technology, not developers. The goal is to help officials and managers plan programs and procurements and to develop policies and best practices that maximize the return on their investments in information systems. 
Government professionals increasingly depend on geospatial technologies to provide the information they need to address issues such as infrastructure management, public health, natural resource management, transport, urban design and much more. High-level decision makers use geospatial information in devising long-term strategies to improve the physical and social systems that support cities and regions. Managers and supervisors use geospatial information to increase efficiencies on a daily basis in trash removal and street repairs.
Around the world, institutions, both public and private, have been learning to readjust their workflows, operations and institutional arrangements to accommodate and make the best use of rapidly advancing information technologies. The pace of technical change seems to accelerate from year to year, which increases the value of reliable, vendor-neutral, high-quality information sources focused on specific questions related to technology forecasting, procurement plans and new challenges in areas such as privacy, security and data rights management.
We will expose GovFuture members to new and innovative ideas and ways of thinking about geospatial technology. At very little cost, GovFuture members will be able to participate in quarterly webinars with technology providers and policy leaders. GovFuture will offer peer-to-peer forums and new ways to network with peers and leaders in their fields around the world. Content will flow from resources that include the OGC’s:
  • Website
  • Webinars, workshops and forums
  • Alliance partners
  • Government programs and activities
  • Global Advisory Council
  • Government Special Interest Group (Gov SIG)
  • Spatial Law & Policy Committee
  • Business Value Committee
  • Domain Working Groups
  • World Region forums
Local and subnational governments are “where the rubber meets the road,” where “near things are related.” David Schell, chairman and founder of the OGC, has said, “Interoperability seems to be about the integration of information. What it’s really about is the coordination of organizational behavior.” Coordination of organizational behavior was more difficult in the old days of slow information flows, and it was mostly top-down. Today, organizational network diagrams are often more useful than organizational pyramid charts. The Obama administration and other high-level government administrations around the world have urged “place-based policies,” in harmony with the popular phrase, “Think globally. Act locally.” A world of thriving municipalities and thriving provinces is a thriving world. GovFuture seeks to help those who share this vision.

Published Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Written by Steven Ramage

Published in


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