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OGC Demonstrates Open Location Based Services 11.05.2002

Members of the Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) have publicly demonstrated a set of prototype interfaces and schemas that support Location-Based Services (LBS) interoperability. The goal is to enable telecommunications companies to efficiently implement interoperable LBS applications that can seamlessly access multiple content repositories and service frameworks and that work across the world's many different wireless networks and devices. Location-Based Services employ real-time positioning technologies and networked resources to enable a wide variety of applications. These include emergency response (E-911, for example), personal navigator, traffic information service, proximity service, location recall, mobile field service, travel directions, restaurant finder, corporate asset locator, concierge, routing, vector map portrayal and interaction, friend finder, and geography voice-graphics.

The demonstration was held at the October 24-25 "ETS1: Location-Based Services" conference in Reston, Virginia USA. The ETS (Emerging Technology Summit) conferences are jointly supported by OGC and the Geospatial Information Technologies Association (GITA). The demonstration marked successful completion of phase 1 of the OGC Open Location Services (OpenLS(TM)) Testbed Initiative. Specifications based on the prototype interfaces and schemas will be reviewed in the OGC Specification Program, to be refined and then approved for global public release as Adopted OpenGIS(R) Implementation Specifications.

The tremendous social value and commercial opportunity offered by LBS will depend on communication of location (and time), route, types of service, etc. across diverse technology platforms, application domains, classes of products, carrier networks and national regions. Users will expect, for example, continuity of location services when a cell phone "roams" from one carrier's network to another's. The OpenLS-1 team of experts is drafting from their prototypes a set of specifications for publicly available shared interfaces and schemas which will enable such interoperability. The specifications will also comprise a "cookbook" for rapid development of LBS offerings. The demo showed:

  • Integration with mobile terminals, wireless platforms, and IP platforms
  • Directory (sometimes called "yellow pages") search and display with spatial parameters in requests and responses
  • Route determination and display based on two or more points entered as place names, street addresses, or longitude/latitude coordinates
  • Finding coordinates from street addresses (geocoding) and street addresses from coordinates (reverse geocoding)
  • Displaying maps on devices with different display characteristics
  • User interaction with map features through mobile client and remote server
  • Voice-activated direction service and friend finder

OpenLS-1 Testbed Sponsors included Hutchison 3G (UK), Oracle, Webraska (France), ESRI (US), Sun Microsystems (US) and In-Q-Tel (US). Sponsors determine technology requirements and constraints for OGC testbeds.

OpenLS-1 Testbed Participants included: Cquay (Canada), Galdos (Canada), Hitachi (Japan), NTT Data (Japan), BigTribe (US), Intergraph's IntelliWhere division (Australia), ESRI, University of Illinois (US), LocatioNet (US), MapInfo (US), SignalSoft (US), Sun Microsystems, Syncline (US), Navigation Technologies (US), MobileGIS (Ireland), Telcontar (US), Tele Atlas (Netherlands), SICAD Geomatics (Germany), Vodafone (UK), Webraska, IONIC (Belgium) and Laser-Scan (UK).

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