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The Canadian GIS industry taking the initiative in the OGC.

Early December marked an exciting and important event for Galdos Systems, National Resources Canada (NRCAN) and other Canadian GI companies as they welcomed members of the Open GIS (r) Consortium to Vancouver, B.C.. Hosted on behalf of Galdos Systems and sponsored by NRCAN, the 38th OGC Technical and Planning Meetings were attended by some 150 leading geospatial and information technology professionals from around the globe.

During the week, the OGC members worked on a number of important initiatives and specification development activities. Specifically, participants involved in the OGC OpenLS and OGC Web Services initiatives held intensive meetings and made considerable progress on work related to interoperability in the location services and geospatial web services technology areas. On the OGC specification front, this meeting marked continued progress on several key OGC specifications, in particular Web Map Server 1.1, Coordinate Reference Systems, Geography Markup Language (GML) and The Web Map Server (WFS) specifications. Of particular importance was the move toward harmonization between GML and a geospatial encoding standard supported by ISO (ISO 19118), a move strongly supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, Oracle Corporation, Laser-Scan and NIMA among others. The status of GML and G-XML convergence was also highlighted. GML 3.0 work made several key steps forward in areas such as geometry and spatial reference systems. GML 3.0 will represents a major milestone for convergence with ISO, and will offer much richer functionality than the current GML 2.1, but will do so in a modular fashion. In the GML Special Interest Group, presentations were heard from Korea, Japan (G-XML World), France (GML/XML Workshop), and Switzerland (GIS in Telecoms held recently in Geneva). It is evident that world-wide interest in GML is continuing to grow.

The key interoperability initiatives of the OGC, namely the OWS (Open Web Services) and Open Location Services each held several meetings during the week and progress was made in a number of key areas including web service registries, Sensor-Web and specific web services (WFS, WMS and WCS).

The Web Mapping SIG saw the adoption of the Web Feature Service. This followed a 30 day comment period and receipt and analysis of comments from the publicly WFS RFC. The public release of GML 3.0. is also anticipated for Spring 2002. Other web service specifications will then follow in-turn as OGC members continue to advance interoperability in support of the rapidly emerging web-services marketplace.

Terry Fisher, International Liaison of National Resources Canada had this to comment:

“We sponsored this meeting because of the importance of OGC activities and standards to the GeoConnections program in Canada. GeoConnections is a Canadian national partnership initiative led by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). Through it, governments are working with industry to build the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI), which will make Canada’s geospatial databases, tools and services readily accessible on-line. OGC implementation specifications have been adopted as an integral part of the CGDI and as a result, GeoConnections/NRCan is now a key supporter of the OGC. Canadian Industry, including companies such as Galdos, is clearly a leader in the development of these important specifications.

I was particularly excited by the increasing international character of the meeting and the many contributions not only from Canada, but also from Japan, Korea and Europe. I think the internationalization of the OGC is key to the organization’s future.”
David Shell, President of OGC noted “We are very grateful to Natural Resources Canada and Galdos, Inc. for hosting our December meetings in Vancouver. The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure benefits immensely from Canada’s commitment to OGC member-driven programs that are advancing global consensus on interoperability for geospatial and location based applications and services. Canada’s importance in the geospatial industry is underscored by the leadership that Canadian and other member companies have shown in advancing the GML standard in OGC.

On a lighter note, delegates of the conference were delighted to attend a reception held on board a cruise ship that toured Vancouver’s scenic harbor.

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