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OGC Web Services Phase 5 Interoperability Initiative

The OGC Announces Call for Participation in OWS-5 Testbed

Wayland, Massachusetts, USA. May 11, 2007.

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has issued a Request for Quotes/Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) for the OGC Web Services, Phase 5 (OWS-5) Interoperability Initiative, a testbed to advance OGC's open geospatial interoperability framework. The RFQ/CFP is available online at:

Based on sponsor requirements, the OWS-5 initiative is organized as six threads over two initiative phases:

  1. Sensor Web Enablement (SWE)
  2. Geo Processing Workflow (GPW)
  3. Information Communities' Semantics (ICS)
  4. Agile Geography
  5. Compliance Testing (CITE)

Significant work items include geospatial Web service chaining and workflow, enhancements to the KML language, practical application of the Sensor Web, and application of GML to real-world scenarios.

OWS testbeds are part of OGC's Interoperability Program, a global, hands-on and collaborative prototyping program designed to rapidly develop, test and deliver 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.

The RFQ/CFP includes details of these threads as well as details of the bidders' conference, selection process and kickoff. Responses are due by June 8, 2007. If your organization is interested in participating, contact Raj Singh at

The OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 335 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGIS Specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. The specifications empower technology developers to make complex spatial information and services accessible and useful with all kinds of applications. Visit the OGC website at

OWS-5 Sponsors

  • BAE Systems - Network Systems
  • Google
  • Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems & Solutions
  • Northrup Grumman
  • US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
  • US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

OWS-5 Threads

1) Sensor Web Enablement (SWE)FOO999

The Sensor Web subtask will continue to mature the existing set of SWE work items to enable the federation of sensors, platforms and management infrastructure into a single sensor enterprise. In OWS-5,interoperability engineering activities will focus on integration and demonstration of physical sensors and simulators within a realistic operating environment. In addition, progress is expected on enhancements to the SWE specifications as described in the "Future work" clauses of the respective baseline documents.

Emphasis for SWE during this phase of the OWS project will be on:

  • Leveraging results of OWS-4 to extend and integrate those specifications and implementations.
  • Demonstrating SWE's ability to meet the geospatial needs of large enterprise system by integrating SWE into realistic enterprise workflow scenarios supported by Use Cases.
  • Continuing previous test-bed efforts to integrate IEEE 1451 sensor into SWE.
  • Establishing cross thread collaboration with CGB by integrating sensors into 3D models.
  • Harmonizing SWE concepts and specifications with other OGC specifications and initiatives.
  • Developing compliance test for SWE specification to accelerate adoption.

2) Geo Processing Workflow (GPW)

No geo-process is an island, or more exactly no geo-process should be an island. By interconnecting geo-processes through service chaining and orchestration to meet workflow requirements, creation of valued-added enterprise systems is possible that demonstrate the power of interoperability and service oriented architectures. The OWS-2 Image Handling for Decision Support (IH4DS) thread extended the baseline of OWS service types with image processing services. OWS-3 Common Architecture activities built on that work by applying the services developed in OWS-2 to the SWE and GeoDSS environments. OWS-4 furthered workflow service development by investigating the patterns for building general purpose geo-processing services and prototyping a feature editing scenario.

OWS-5 will further mature geoprocessing workflows by bringing together more services in real-world image processing scenarios, developing a SOAP/WSDL framework for all OGC services, and incorporating rights-based access to resources. The GPW thread in this testbed is organized into the following inter-related work areas:

  • Enterprise integration and refinement of OGC Web Service architecture
  • Enterprise integration of OGC Web Services using service chaining and workflow to implement the full service life cycle for the Publish-Find-Bind pattern
  • Integrate GeoRM services and components in the workflow with focus on Identity, Authorization, Authentication and Trust model

3) Information Communities and Semantics (ICS)

The ICS thread seeks to advance the understanding and use of complex geographic information types within an interoperability architecture. A variety of geospatial data types will be modeled in UML and converted into GML using the UGAS ShapeChange tool. Information about these data and the services provisioning them will be registered in a number of catalogs and utilized in workflows developed in the GPW thread.

This activity will test the ability of OGC standards to facilitate one of the core scenarios in any spatial data infrastructure-information publication.

4) Agile Geography

This testbed focuses on process integration and 'right-sizing' of services to demonstrate the power of interoperability and service-oriented architectures using OGC Web Services. The Agile Geography thread explores this goal through two distinct activities.

The first explores the future of KML, OWS Context, and lightweight payloads of geospatial information on the Web in general, applying the concepts of links, bookmarks and Web pages to digital cartography and geospatial information management. Participants will explore the harmonization of KML and OWS Context XML encodings and prototype client and server software that exploits these document types.

The second activity-GeoSynchronization and Sharing-extends the WFS-Transactional architecture to target a federated environment comprised of loosely affiliated parties who desire to collaborate, in full or in part, on the maintenance of a shared geospatial data set.

5) Compliance Testing (CITE)

The OGC Interoperability Program and the OGC Specification Program have achieved a great deal of momentum as a result of the multiple OGC Web service specifications that have recently been published. Key consumers in the geospatial industry are modernizing their enterprises and realizing spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) based on the applicability and interoperability of OGC web services.

The major geospatial industry consumers require verifiable proof of compliance with OGC specifications in order to reach the desirable outcome of interoperability. In OWS-5 the CITE thread advances testing for Web Coverage Service and Catalog Service for the Web to versions 1.1 and 2.0.2 respectively. OWS-5 also initiates Sensor Web compliance testing, with the first Sensor Observation Service and Sensor Planning Service tests.

Also included in the requirements are reference implementations of these specifications. A reference implementation is an open source, fully functional implementation of a specification in reference to which other implementations can be evaluated. The OGC provides open source reference implementations to ensure maximum transparency of its specifications for both vendors and customers.

6) CAD / GIS / BIM (CGB)

The CGB activities in the OWS program are directed toward bridging the information models and workflows of the various communities involved with the representation of the built environment in three dimensions. Standards for interoperable exchange of information about buildings and standards for representing and exchanging information about cities at broad-scale are beginning to enable owners, administrators and toolmakers to make investments in developing assets based on these standards. Applications of integrated city models are emerging in the mass-market sphere, witness Google Earth and Microsoft Local Live. One can imagine the extension of these tools into the domains of location-based services to emergency preparedness and response. These applications will require the integration of semantically rich authoritative information that is likely to be created in a highly distributed fashion. This thread of OWS-5 focuses on developing a services-based architecture that will bring the necessary information together, and to make it accessible in a secure way.

Note: Work items within the CAD/GIS/BIM thread are provided for comment — with the anticipation that CGB will be conducted in Phase 2. Comments on CGB are solicited now to support a future RFQ/CFP for Phase 5.2 as defined in Master Schedule.


Sam Bacharach
Executive Director, Outreach and Community Adoption
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc
35 Main Street, Suite 5, Wayland, MA 01778 USA
Tel: +1-703-352-3938

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See also Geography Markup Language (GML).

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