OGC seeks Public Comment on FlatGeobuf becoming a Community Standard


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FlatGeobuf is a performant binary encoding for geographic data that works well as a “cloud native” lossless format for vector data.

10 February 2023: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is looking to adopt FlatGeobuf as an official OGC Community Standard. Comments are due by March 13, 2023.

FlatGeobuf is a performant binary encoding for geographic data that can hold a collection of Simple Features. Because of its simple core design and efficient I/O handling, FlatGeobuf can work well as a “cloud native” lossless format for vector data. FlatGeobuf is based on flatbuffers.

FlatGeobuf was designed to be: suitable for storing and accessing large volumes of static data; significantly faster than legacy formats; unconstrained by size limitations for contents or metainformation, and; suitable for streaming/random access. No other current format combines good performance and “cloud native” design. 

In addition to the cloud native use-case, FlatGeobuf is suitable as a fast interoperable serialization format for efficient communication between systems. It can also be used as a practical replacement for Shapefiles because it has the same design goal without the shortcomings (no required sidecars, no size limitations and more flexible column/value representation). FlatGeobuf could also be used as an optional output format for WFS and OGC API - Features and would, in this case, compete very favorably with GML and GeoJSON. Some GIS servers and clients use a custom binary encoding instead of JSON to improve efficiency for feature access over HTTP; FlatGeobuf provides similar efficiency in an open format.

The initial stable specification version of FlatGeobuf is versioned as 3.0 and was released with reference implementation and GDAL implementation early in 2020.

An OGC Community Standard is an official standard of OGC that is developed and maintained external to the OGC. The originator of the standard brings to OGC a “snapshot” of their work that is then endorsed by OGC membership as a stable, widely implemented standard that becomes part of the OGC Standards Baseline.

The Justification Document for FlatGeobuf as an OGC Community Standard is available for review and comment on the OGC Portal. Comments are due by March 13, 2023, and should be submitted via the method outlined on the FlatGeobuf Community Standard Justification’s public comment request page.

About OGC

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is a collective problem-solving community of more than 550 experts representing industry, government, research and academia, collaborating 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-practices; collaborating on problem solving in agile innovation initiatives; participating in member 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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