OGC Membership approves the OGC API – Environmental Data Retrieval specification as official OGC Standard


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OGC API - EDR makes it easy for users to access subsets of spatial ‘big data’ through a uniform, well-defined, simple web interface that hides the complexities of data storage.

22 September 2021: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is excited to announce that the OGC Membership has approved the OGC API – Environmental Data Retrieval (EDR) specification for adoption as an official OGC Standard. 

OGC API - EDR is the latest Standard to join the growing family of OGC API Standards. OGC APIs are modern, modular, flexible, simple-yet-powerful “building blocks for location” that make it easy for anyone to publish or consume geospatial data on the web that is FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

The two main goals behind the development of the EDR API were to: make it easier for users and clients to access a wide range of data through a uniform, well-defined, simple web interface; and to provide just the data needed by the user or client while hiding the underlying complexity of contemporary data storage techniques. 

The important aspect is that the data can be unambiguously specified by its spatio-temporal coordinates - a “where” and a “when.” One example use-case is to retrieve small subsets of environmental data from much larger collections, such as weather forecasts or climate models - though many other types of data can be made available via OGC API - EDR compliant interfaces.

The OGC API - EDR Standard provides a family of lightweight query interfaces to access spatio-temporal data resources by requesting data at a Position, within an Area, along a Trajectory, or through a Corridor. 

The patterns supported by the query interfaces provide useful building blocks to allow the composition of APIs that satisfy a wide range of geospatial data use-cases, from the retrieval of real or virtual time-series observations, to sub-setting 4-dimensional data cubes. By defining a small set of query patterns (and no requirement to implement all of them), the OGC API - EDR standard helps to simplify the design of systems and makes it easier to build robust and scalable infrastructure that is performance-tuned for its supported queries.

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

  • 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. Implementations of the OGC API - EDR standard could be used to access the gridded weather forecast dataset and return those values to their browser in JSON.
  • An aviator wants access to all the current aerodrome observations of visibility in a specified area. Implementations of 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.
  • A hydrologist would like to retrieve both observed and forecast water levels from a network of gauging stations. Implementations of the OGC API - EDR standard could be used to retrieve those values by station name rather than geographical coordinates.
  • A Public Safety Official would like to know the predicted wind speeds along several forecast typhoon tracks or in a corridor around such tracks. Implementations of the OGC API - EDR standard could be used to interrogate, in turn, several such predictions.
  • Implementations of 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.

OGC Members interested in staying up to date on the progress of this standard, or contributing to its future development, are encouraged to join the Environmental Data Retrieval API SWG via the OGC Portal.

As with any OGC standard, the OGC API – Environmental Data Retrieval standard is free to download and implement. Interested parties can view and download the standard from the OGC API – EDR webpage

To learn more about how the family of OGC API Standards work together to provide modular “building blocks for location” that address both simple and the most complex use-cases, visit ogcapi.org.

About OGC

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is a collective problem-solving community of experts from more than 500 businesses, government agencies, research organizations, and universities driven to make geospatial (location) information and services FAIR - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.

The global OGC Community engages in a mix of activities related to location-based technologies: developing consensus-based open standards and best-practice; collaborating on agile innovation initiatives; engaging in community meetings, events, and workshops; and more.

OGC's unique standards development process moves at the pace of innovation, with constant input from technology forecasting, practical prototyping, real-world testing, and community engagement.

OGC bridges disparate sectors, domains, and technology trends, and encourages the cross-pollination of ideas between different communities of practice to improve decision-making at all levels. OGC is committed to creating an inclusive and sustainable future.

Visit ogc.org for more info on our work.


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