The OGC forms working group to draft Point of Interest (POI) encoding standard

12 December 2013 – At the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) Technical Committee plenary meeting on 26 September, the Technical Committee approved the charter for a new OGC Point of Interest (POI) Standards Working Group (SWG). This group will develop a candidate POI encoding specification for possible adoption by the OGC membership as an OGC Standard.

POIs are the kind of spatial information most familiar to the mainstream public. They are those named places on maps and in-car navigation systems. Considering the ubiquitous need for POI information, surprisingly little effort has gone into international PoI standardization. In many ways, one could consider POIs a fundamental requirement of any spatial data infrastructure. We also see their importance in the commercial sector for navigation applications and social networks. The purpose of the POI SWG is to produce an encoding standard of points of interest data that includes an abstract data model and JSON and XML Schema implementations of that abstract model.

The data model and JSON and XML serializations are designed to enhance the ability to share and communicate PoI content.

The OGC POI SWG charter is available at

There is a public  GitHub repository for reviewing/commenting on the draft specification.

Co-chairs of the new OGC POI SWG are Ashley Holt, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Peter Cotroneo, Ordnance Survey.

Initiators of the OGC POI SWG are:

  • Australian Dept. of Resources, Energy, Tourism
  • Google
  • Interactive Instruments
  • Meteo France
  • Ordnance Survey (Great Britain)
  • Terradue Srl
  • University of Seoul
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • US National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
  • US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

This standards effort grows out of recent OGC testbed activities as well as several semantic interoperability experiments – attempts to merge place name databases from different organizations – in the OGC Testbeds OWS-8 and OWS-9. It also draws from work that was initiated by the W3C POIWG.

Members of the public can follow the activities of the OGC POI SWG, make comments, and ask questions by subscribing to the OGC POI SWG listserv. See instructions at

A prototype implementation of the candidate OGC POI Encoding Standard in the OGC OpenPOIs database has also influenced development of the candidate standard. The OGC OpenPOIs database prototype contains POIs for millions of businesses and civic places across the globe. Access to this database is free through a  map user interface and via a published  Web service API. New POIs can be added; data can be extracted using the API, and the open source code can be downloaded. See The OGC encourages new POI submissions and the data, compiled from public POI lists, is open to all to use. See

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 470 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at


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