OGC blogs

  • The advent of I3S
    Contributed by: 
    Barry Tilton and Monica Wamsley, @TheGlobeIn3D
    Tags: 

    The future of mapping is coming — or is it here already? With the advent of Indexed 3D Scene Layers (I3S) as a community standard, everyone stands to benefit.

    Discussions around creating data-display standards have taken place for decades now, most famously including VHS vs. Beta. The first attempt at 3D standards was in the late 1980s with computer graphics, but came toward maps about 10 years later. So few sets of data were collected in 3D, and 3D was (and is) memory intensive because of the six variables necessary to place an object at a point in space at the correct angles. Everyone had vested interests in standards reflecting the work they were already doing.
    That last part hasn’t changed, but approving I3S as a standard means that this form of 3D will be generally exploitable by many more users in the near term. I3S is one workable and robust protocol which has been both fleshed out and vetted by a knowledgeable user community.

    A map based solely on looking down cannot present to its users the difference between a two-story building and a 100-story building — and that difference is critical. There is much more content to the world than what is represented on 2D maps! It’s an epiphany of sorts, looking up at a building from the ground instead of just down from sky. Eventually, this will be the norm: The 25-and-below age group has grown up with immersive gaming experiences, so stepping into I3S feels natural, and, in a few years, when that age group is teaching, it will be native. 

    Meanwhile, who benefits the most from I3S? Certainly, those who need to understand the implications of 3D are at the top of that list. This includes first responders, soldiers, and various program operators, among others. There are members of the American intelligence community who recount their days in the military and cite logistical challenges without viewsheds. But 3D applications are not limited to militaries and emergencies: The telecommunications industry cannot rely on paper maps to determine optimal placement for power lines or antennae.

    With standards comes a renaissance! OGC approval for I3S makes 3D more available and used increasingly in communities. It is important to agree on a set of high-quality standards that are open to others instead of spending additional money and manpower on this all-important but seemingly exclusive facet of product development. So where do we go from here? Get data into users’ hands to build communities, of both professionals and lay users. The Internet of Things is growing, and disasters strike with perilous force. Hunters can scope out boundaries and the best places for blinds, and major professional golf courses have been mapped down to an eyelash. The potential for aid from 3D imagery is limitless. Let’s embrace the variety of applications, and welcome the input.

    Vricon, like others in the community, supports OGC’s efforts to develop 3D standards and bring acceptance and commonality to the field. How can we get this next-level imagery and data to analysts, warfighters, first responders, urban planners, and all who endeavor to make our lives  — and our planet! — better?

  • Our newest OGC staff member: Gobe Hobona
    Contributed by: 
    Gobe Hobona

    It is an exciting time to be joining OGC as Director of Knowledge Management (DKM). One of the reasons why I am very excited about this is that geospatial interoperability standards are increasingly seen as the key ingredient for allowing much in society to be better understood. Whether it is understanding how shoppers decide where to buy their groceries, where best to deploy resources in response to a hurricane, or even to predict which routes home from work are likely to be the least congested at a particular time, providing and implementing knowledge management strategies that facilitate geospatial standardisation will enable these and other more complex questions in society to be answered with greater confidence.

    Knowledge Management is about creating an environment and strategies that enable an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and adopt insights and experiences. It is about getting the right knowledge, to the right place at the right time. The insights and experience of the OGC membership are typically reflected in the standards and other documents we produce in the consortium. So as the DKM I will be responsible for planning and managing the workflow of candidate standards through their standardisation lifecycle. This means creating a knowledge sharing environment that allows insights and experiences from the OGC membership to feed into each candidate standard. As we roll out the new OGC Knowledge Management strategy, members will see greater use of automation and autonomous analytics to enable the right knowledge to reach the right place at the right time.

    I have previously been employed as the Consultancy Team Leader and Head of Applied Research at Envitia Ltd, an OGC member. During my time at Envitia I worked on a number of consultancy and applied research projects for government and commercial customers. Prior to joining Envitia, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Newcastle University and the University of Nottingham. During these previous roles, I actively took part in multiple OGC working groups. I have also worked as a consultant to OGC on the GEOSS, INSPIRE, GMES Action in Support (GIGAS) project initiated by the European Commission during my time as a postdoctoral researcher.

    I hold a PhD in Geomatics from Newcastle University, achieved with a doctoral thesis on Web-based Discovery and Dissemination of Multidimensional Geographic Information. I also hold a 1st Class Bachelor of Science degree with honours in Geographic Information Science from Newcastle University. After a number of years working in both academic research and the geospatial software industry, I was accepted as a professional member of both the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

    Most of my previous involvement within the OGC has been as a participant of the OGC testbed series. I have had the privilege of working collaboratively with many OGC members involved in the testbeds, trying out new technologies, developing new ones and feeding lessons learnt into the working groups of the consortium. These testbeds provide a valuable knowledge resource for each Standard Working Group (SWG) and Domain Working Group (DWG) within the consortium. So, I am looking forward to working with colleagues and members to enable the knowledge generated from these testbeds and other OGC initiatives to reach the wider geospatial community in the form of consistent and high quality standards.

  • OGC GeoPackage: Expanding the Realm of Geospatial Capabilities
    Contributed by: 
    David Wilson and Micah Brachman, PhD

    This guest post was contributed by: David Wilson, Geospatial Engineer Strategic Alliance Consulting, Inc.; and Micah Brachman, PhD Lecturer, Center for Geospatial Information Science University of Maryland, College Park.

    Viewshed using the UK Ordnance Survey Elevation GeoPackage. Image from: OGC 16-094r3 GeoPackage Elevation Extension Interoperability Experiment Engineering Report.

    An OGC GeoPackage is a portable database that may contain raster maps and imagery, vector features, and elevation data. GeoPackages are optimized for sharing and displaying these types of geospatial data on mobile mapping systems, and GeoPackage extensions may be developed to support additional types of geospatial data such as routing networks. This blog post will discuss what GeoPackage extensions are, how they are developed, and how they can provide new geospatial capabilities to meet the requirements of a diverse user base.

    A GeoPackage extension is method by which new requirements are added to the existing set of requirements in the OGC GeoPackage Encoding Standard. These new requirements expand upon the existing capabilities of GeoPackage by enabling the use of additional data types, styling, and other geospatial functions through the addition of tables, rows, and columns to the existing standard. Extensions can enhance existing capability of GeoPackage (i.e. incorporating Non-Linear Geometry Types) or add a completely new data type entirely (Elevation, Other Media, etc).

    Anyone can extend GeoPackage to fit their needs, but custom extensions can come with their own set of interoperability risks. In OGC, extensions must be approved to be “Registered-Exenstions” under the GeoPackage Encoding Standard. A “Registered Extension” is one that’s been vetted through the GeoPackage Standard Working Group (SWG) and has undergone community exchanges and interoperability experiments. This ensures that the broadest scope of industry, academia, and government consumers of GeoPackage participate and influence the outcome of the extension.

    GeoPackage extensions are usually developed to fulfill a specific need. The Extension for Tiled Gridded Coverage Data was developed specifically to support terrain visualization and analytics such as line-of-sight on cell phones and other lightweight, low-powered computing devices. The first step in developing this extension was a whitepaper entitled “Envisioning a Tiled Elevation Extension for the OGC GeoPackage Encoding Standard” which identified uses cases, defined terms, and proposed a technical approach for the adding tiled gridded elevation data to a GeoPackage. This whitepaper was discussed and approved within the GeoPackage SWG, and was then socialized with the broader OGC community to build a consensus on the technical approach. An OGC Interoperability Experiment (IE) - known as the GeoPackage Elevation Extension Interoperability Experiment - was then conducted, which included participants from industry, government, and academia to build and test prototype GeoPackages that included tiled gridded elevation data. The technical approach continued to be refined as to not limit the scope the extension. A report of the IE is available here.

    There are many other GeoPackage extensions that have been developed in addition to the Tiled Gridded Elevation Data extension. The latest version of the GeoPackage Encoding Standard has eleven Registered Extensions, including an RTree Spatial Indexes extension to improve the rendering performance of large vector feature GeoPackages and a Metadata extension to allow additional information about vector or raster data to be stored within a GeoPackage. While most of these registered extensions provide a method for improving upon the existing capabilities of OGC GeoPackages, there are also several custom extensions that truly expand the geospatial capabilities of GeoPackages.

    All in all, GeoPackage is a dynamic product format that will continue to be extended and improved. However, with as many great concepts for possible extensions, OGC’s top priority will always ensure that extensions do not break interoperability and open to everyone to implement.

    David Wilson Bio:

    David Wilson is a Geospatial Engineer for Strategic Alliance Consulting, Inc that specializes in Geospatial interoperability with a focus on GeoPackage standards compliance, testing and use. David has over 10 years’ experience working in the Army and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA).

    Micah Brachman Bio:

    Micah Brachman is a Lecturer in the Center for Geospatial Information Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. He holds a PhD (2012) and MA (2009) in Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a BS (2000) in Geography from the University of Minnesota. Micah has extensive professional experience in GIS and Remote Sensing in the commercial, government, and non-profit sectors, and recently transitioned from a Geospatial Scientist position supporting the Army Geospatial Center to teach in the new Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) program at UMD. In addition to GEOINT, Micah is also actively engaged in teaching and scholarship in Hazards and Emergency Management, Network Science, and Active Transportation.


Markus Schneider blog

Simple Features

On INSPIRE, rich application schemas, GML and deegree in general
  • INSPIRE Download Services with deegree 3.2: Part Three
    The second part of this series focussed on harmonized INSPIRE datasets and their GML encoding. It also lined out why the technical features of the deegree WFS make it an excellent choice for serving valid, harmonized, GML-encoded INSPIRE datasets. Why … Continue reading
  • Writing processes for deegree WPS
    Finally, there’s an updated documentation for writing processes for the deegree WPS. It’s part of the new deegree webservices documentation, which has been released together with deegree 3.2. deegree WPS is an implementation of the OGC Processing Service specification. Notable … Continue reading
  • deegree webservices 3.2.1 released
    Today, the first maintenance release for deegree webservices 3.2 has been released. Get it here: http://www.deegree.org/Download Changelog: Pull request #85: WMS: Fixed outputting of layers if the corresponding theme has no layers and subthemes Pull request #86: WFS: Fixed default … Continue reading
  • INSPIRE Download Services with deegree 3.2: Part Two
    The first part of this series described the different classes of INSPIRE Download Services and why a Direct Access Download Service is most versatile. It also lined out that a Download Service may be interoperable or non-interoperable and that data … Continue reading
  • INSPIRE Download Services with deegree 3.2: Part One
    Why has deegree webservices 3.2 been dubbed “INSPIRE release”? This blog post series explains why it is an excellent choice for providing compliant INSPIRE Download Services, especially if you want the full monty: Interoperable Direct Access Download Services that serve … Continue reading


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