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OGC Demonstrates the Future of Interoperable Web Services 01.21.2003

Sponsors, participants and invited guests gathered at Lockheed Martin recently to view the results of the OGC Web Services 1.2 Testbed initiative.

Sponsors, participants and invited guests joined the Open GIS Consortium (OGC) at Lockheed Martin recently to view the results of the OGC Web Services 1.2 Testbed initiative. The demonstration focused on three emergency response situations in a mock Department of Homeland Security Emergency Operations Center, showing how recent advances in OGC's interoperability architecture enable integration of geospatial information and geoprocessing software via the World Wide Web. Attendees saw the use of live sensors, the tasking of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the integration of data, services, and other elements hosted on servers worldwide. While the demonstration employed a variety of innovative software products and geospatial data drawn from local, state and federal agencies and the private sector, OGC Interoperability Program Executive Director Jeff Harrison made it clear at the outset that what was important was that all of the technology worked together through OGC interfaces. After the formal presentation, attendees visited with participants at an electronic poster session to learn more about their contributions.

Some of the work in OWS 1.2 focused on enhancing existing OpenGIS® Specifications such as Geography Markup Language and Web Feature Service while others defined new interfaces that may someday become specifications, including such technologies as image handling, Web-based sensor planning and collection, service registries, symbol/style management, and composite services (linking or chaining one service to another).

The UAV scenario illustrated mobile targeting - using an aerial sensor to capture images over an area - and allowed analysts to examine them to determine if a specific vehicle entered the area of interest. Behind the scenes a series of services executing together, a composite service, made this possible. Draft interfaces for a variety of services, including a Sensor Planning Service, Web Notification Service, Sensor Collection Service, Sensor Markup Language (SensorML), Image Archive Service, Web Coverage Service, and Coverage Portrayal Service each played a part in the procedure. These services, all linked together, demonstrated a method to gather imagery in a rapid fashion, potentially within minutes, and provide it for analysis.

While exploring and extending services and interfaces, OWS 1.2 participants developed a service information model that forms the basis for a common method to describe services. Another part of the common architecture work involved the use of registries, a sort of online phone book, where information about services is documented and maintained for users to find.

Bill Burgess of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, one of over a dozen organizations that provided data for the demonstration, explained why his organization chose to participate. "We see OpenGIS specifications as the future. We saw our support of this initiative as a chance to see our data in a real world OGC environment, and an opportunity to assist OGC members in achieving their goals for greater interoperability. Having seen what was possible in terms of data discovery, access and visualization, we are more confident than ever that open standards are the way to go."

The twenty-one participants in OWS 1.2 included: Autodesk Inc., Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) University of Arkansas, CSIRO, CubeWerx, Inc., Dawn Corporation, ESRI, Galdos Systems, Inc., GE Network Solutions, Geodata Systems Inc., George Mason University, Institute for Geoinformatics - University of Muenster, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, IONIC Software, IONIC Enterprise, Laser-Scan, Ltd., Laser-Scan, Inc., PCI Geomatics, Polexis, Inc., Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Syncline, Inc., and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. BAE SYSTEMS, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, NASA, and others sponsored OWS 1.2.

OGC Web Services 1.2 is part of OGC's Interoperability Program, a global, collaborative, hands-on engineering and testing program that rapidly delivers proven candidate specifications into OGC's Specification Program, where they are formalized for public release. In OGC's Interoperability Initiatives, international teams of technology providers work together to solve specific geoprocessing interoperability problems posed by the Initiative's sponsoring organizations. Questions about the Interoperability Program should be addressed to Mr. Jeff Harrison, Executive Director,, (703) 491-9543.

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