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OWS-5 Initiative Agile Geography: Federated Geo-synchronization Services

The OGC Announces New Call for Participation in OWS-5 Testbed

Wayland, Massachusetts, USA. September 7, 2007.

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has issued an addendum to its May 11 [2007] Request for Quotes/Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) for the OGC Web Services, Phase 5 (OWS-5) Interoperability Initiative. OWS-5 is a testbed to advance OGC's open geospatial interoperability framework.

The addendum and the original RFQ/CFP are available at:

As described in the addendum, in response to sponsor requirements, the OWS-5 initiative's Agile Geography thread has been expanded to include two new work items. The two new work items are titled "Federated Geo-synchronization Services" and "OWS Core + Extensions Experiment".

In the Federated Geo-synchronization work, participants will help develop standard approaches to using GML application schemas such as GeoRSS GML and GML Simple Features Level 0 with Atom and the Atom Publishing Protocol. Atom addresses the syndication of Web content such as weblogs and news headlines to Web sites as well as directly to user agents. The "OWS Core + Extensions Experiment" work item involves participants implementing a more formal and modular approach to structuring OGC standards.

The RFQ/CFP includes details of these work items. Responses are due by October 5, 2007. If your organization is interested in participating, contact Raj Singh at

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 OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 350 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:


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

RFQ Details: Federated GeoSynchronization

Further description from the RFQ of RFQ 7-September-2007:

The '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...


"GeoSynchronization targets a federated environment comprised of loosely affiliated parties who desire to collaborate on the development and maintenance of a shared geospatial data set. Additionally, technology is enabling new online markets for information sharing and processing to emerge. These too can achieve cost and time benefits from leveraging loosely coupled, industry standards for sharing and synchronization. Solving this interoperability issue is of critical importance to ongoing Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) initiatives across the globe, as parties with differing software infrastructures, organizational goals, and legal mandates seek to increase the availability of geospatial information across society without incurring prohibitive costs. While existing OGC technologies have made it easier to publish information in an interoperable manner, creating the potential for effective sharing and collaboration, another level of interoperability technology is required to manage the intricacies of cross-organizational data sharing, which may include acceptance, validation, rejection, and description of operations on information streams.

In this testbed participants will be funded to experiment with solutions that leverage GML-based information models, such as the GML profiles being developed for US framework data sets and the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure. Mass market information models, such as Atom+GeoRSS GML and KML may be considered as well. It is expected that investigations in this area will likely extend the WFS Transactional architecture to accommodate a more loosely coupled approach. However, alternative architectures will be considered as well.

A significant aspect of geospatial information management is the administration of feature database changes. As spatial databases become more distributed and collaboratively maintained, tightly-coupled database transaction models are not sufficient to handle Internet scenarios. Important updates may come in from remote field workers, external (but trusted) organizations, or even anonymous Internet users. Identities must be confirmed, and updates must be validated, applied, and potentially disseminated to remote copies with the possibility for versioning and rollback. The Internet and web services specifically allow for a looser coupling of interacting entities, as well as more flexible patterns of interaction between databases. Scaling DBMS synchronization to the Web requires specifications based on Internet and Web standards.

It is expected that realization of this technology will leverage concepts from a variety of fields, within as well as external to the geospatial industry. For security and identity, GeoDRM work will have a central role (the ability to leverage existing OGC GeoDRM work is encouraged in proposals). For transactions on a spatial database, the WFS-Transactional service is of interest. In architecting the concepts and methods of synchronization, change dissemination, and rollback we expect to employ lessons learned from document versioning, peer-to-peer networking, and collaborative editing systems.

This work area investigates architectures and prototypes software components for enabling what we are calling Federated Geo-synchronization Services. In OWS-5 we will look at an SDI scenario in which two parties want to keep a portion of two databases in synch. This portion may be geographic — for example a state or provincial entity synchronizes with a national entity, or it may be thematic, as is the case when two entities desire to synchronize one type of content (e.g. major roads instead of all roads)..."

OWS Core and Extension Experiment

The OGC in general, and the OGC Architecture Board (OAB) in particular, is considering a more formal, modular approach to standards that is described in "OGC Abstract Specification - The Model Specification - Structuring an OGC specification to encourage implementation, version 07-056r2". In support of this effort, this OWS-5 task uses the guidance from this document and applies it to the "OpenGIS Web Feature Service (WFS) Implementation Specification", "Gazetteer Service - Application Profile of the Web Feature Service Implementation Specification", and the Web Processing Service.

[Announcement source:]

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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