OGC seeks public comment on new OGC API for Environmental Data Retrieval


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New OGC API will enable anyone with web development experience to easily identify and retrieve a subset of data from ‘big data’ stores.

27 August 2020: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) seeks public comment on the candidate OGC API - Environmental Data Retrieval Standard. Comments are due by September 28, 2020.

The OGC API - Environmental Data Retrieval (OGC API - EDR) standard uses current web technologies and best practices to enable end-users – or anyone with web development experience – to easily identify and retrieve a subset of data from ‘big data’ stores. The idea is to save those users interested in environmental (or other) data from having to transfer and deal with datasets that inevitably contain data concerning areas or time periods that are irrelevant to their interests. In addition, as a web API, it uses a well-understood and -established mode of interaction that comes with a shallow learning curve.

The new OGC API family of standards uses the OpenAPI specification to define modular API building blocks to spatially enable Web APIs in a consistent way. The OGC API - EDR standard specifies the fundamental API building blocks required to access environmental data resources by requesting data at a Position, within an Area, or along a Trajectory, including optional time and/or vertical coordinates.

The OGC API - EDR standard is not just for accessing ‘environmental’ data but can also support more general geospatial data. The versatility of the OGC API - EDR standard makes it useful across many domains and applications. Example use cases could include: 

  1. A tower crane operator wants to know the wind speed and direction at a series of levels between the surface and 75m above from now and for the next 48 hours. The OGC API - EDR standard could be used to access the gridded weather forecast dataset and return those values to their browser in JSON.
  2. An aviator wants access to all the current aerodrome observations of visibility in a specified area. The OGC API - EDR standard could be used to access a certified METAR (METeorological Aerodrome Report) database and to return those values without the user having to decipher all the METAR content.
  3. A hydrologist would like to retrieve both observed and forecast water levels from a network of gauging stations. The OGC API - EDR standard could be used to retrieve those values by station name rather than geographical coordinates.
  4. A Public Safety Official would like to know the predicted wind speeds along several forecast typhoon tracks or in a corridor around such tracks. The OGC API - EDR standard could be used to interrogate in turn several such predictions.
  5. The OGC API - EDR standard can also be used to access data in non-real-world coordinate systems, such as for retrieving bone density from a 3D MRI scan, at a single position or along a track, or to retrieve the color or gray-scale value from a location on a digitised microscope slide.

For some extra background information on the OGC API - Environmental Data Retrieval standard, read this blog post created after the EDR API Sprint held in March, 2020: ‘The OGC Environmental Data Retrieval API: simple access to big data.’ For more information on the OGC API family of standards, visit ogcapi.ogc.org.

The candidate OGC API - Environmental Data Retrieval standard is available for review and comment on the OGC Portal. Comments are due by September 28, 2020, and should be submitted via the method outlined on the OGC API - Environmental Data Retrieval Standard’s public comment request page.

OGC is interested in not just responses to the technical content, but is also interested in the best format to present this standard to make it easy to understand and use.


About OGC

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international consortium of more than 500 businesses, government agencies, research organizations, and universities driven to make geospatial (location) information and services FAIR - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

OGC’s member-driven consensus process creates royalty free, publicly available geospatial standards. Existing at the cutting edge, OGC actively analyzes and anticipates emerging tech trends, and runs an agile, collaborative Research and Development (R&D) lab that builds and tests innovative prototype solutions to members' use cases.

OGC members together form a global forum of experts and communities that use location to connect people with technology and improve decision-making at all levels. OGC is committed to creating a sustainable future for us, our children, and future generations.

Visit ogc.org for more info on our work.

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