The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that Phase 2 of its Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI-2) has begun with a successful kick-off meeting recently. CIPI aims to test the application of interoperable technology to help national, state, provincial and other local governments, commercial and non-government organizations better manage emergency situations. The initiative does this by coordinating geospatial data and services to meet critical infrastructure protection needs. The Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau is sponsoring CIPI-2 and will use OGC's rapid-prototyping process to develop two prototype systems, an online system to update governmental unit boundary information for existing incorporated places, and a system based on OpenGIS Specifications for serving Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data.

Census will utilize the OGC Interoperability Program process to collaborate with industry participants Syncline, Galdos Systems, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, TASC, ESRI and Intergraph. Existing implementations of OpenGIS interface specifications, including Web Map Server (WMS), Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD), Web Feature Server (WFS) and Geography Markup Language (GML) will form the basis for the development of these two pilot applications. In addition, a collaborative Working Group, including Intergraph, ESRI, Galdos, Syncline and other OGC members will focus on developing aspects of a variety of OGC Interface Specifications to enhance the ability to create distributed GML Feature Collections. This work will be coordinated with the OGC Specification Program and will support development of shared features for Spatial Data Infrastructures. The resulting technology will be demonstrated in March 2003.

Through the CIPI-2 cooperative endeavor, participants will extend the implementation of OGC Web Services in their existing software products to support the Census Bureau’s effort to modernize geospatial systems with a standards-based and interoperable solution. Participants will combine elements of existing standards-based commercial-off-the-shelf products to test and establish an interoperable baseline for two prototype systems, called "WebBAS" and “WebTIGER.” The WebBAS system will allow Web-based update of geospatial features by state, county, local, municipal and/or tribal governments as a partial replacement for the current paper-based Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS). The BAS is currently a paper-based survey that consists of map sheets, 12 forms, 8 letters, 2 postcards and 12 inserts. The WebTIGER system will use a standards-based Web server to serve TIGER data and map images over the Web. The Census Bureau is exploring replacing TIGER/Line files with a non-proprietary, standards-based, extensible and flexible encoding format, GML. The Census Bureau is exploring this approach to encourage public adoption of TIGER/GML as an open, standards based encoding for TIGER data.

The Geography Division of the Census Bureau, as part of the MAF/TIGER Enhancements Program, aims to improve the spatial coordinate accuracy of TIGER, expand the number of participants in the BAS, improve the response rate, reduce cost and make additional update options available to participating governments. Bob Marx, Chief of the Geography Division, welcomed the participants at the kickoff, and said that WebBAS should make it easier for governments to respond to the BAS via the Internet, in line with the requirements of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA). Bob LaMacchia, Assistant Division Chief of the Geography Division for Geographic Products and Customer Service, discussed how WebTIGER would test OGC consensus-based specifications for distributing the next generation of the Census Bureau’s geographic data products in a non-proprietary manner. Paul Daisey, an information technologist in the Geography Division, said that serving TIGER data encoded using OGC’s GML encoding via a Web Feature Service interface is key to integrating WebBAS and WebTIGER with the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and OMB Geospatial One-Stop Initiatives.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative 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. Autodesk, BAE SYSTEMS, Intergraph and Northrop Grumman Information Technology, TASC have committed significant resources to the overall CIPI program to help accelerate OGC's advancement toward interoperability objectives. Their leadership, dedicated resources and commitment will enrich OGC's processes related to CIPI.

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, at, (703) 491-9543.