The OGC's WMS Specification (now also ISO 19128) specifies protocols that provide uniform access by HTML clients to maps rendered by WMS enabled map servers on the internet. Software complying to the specification enables automatic overlay, in ordinary web browsers, of map images obtained from multiple map servers, regardless of map scale, projection, earth coordinate system, storage format, or vendor solution.
OGC is an international voluntary consensus standards organization supported by its industry and government members. ISO is a "de jure" standards organization in which appointed representatives from the world's nations develop and adjudicate international standards. In 1995, OGC established a Class A Liaison with ISO/TC211 and in 1999 the two organizations signed an agreement that allows both organizations to take full advantage of the contributions of the other. The agreement spells out the intellectual property rights related to documents that fall under the agreement and calls for the alignment of ISO and OGC procedures.
WMS is not the first standard to receive joint approval. ISO19125-1:2004 (Geographic information - Simple Feature Access - Part 1: Common Architecture) and ISO 19125-2:2004 (Geographic information - Simple feature access - Part 2: SQL Option) were published earlier this year. OGC's Geography Markup Language (GML) is being processed as ISO 19136 and several other Implementation Specifications from OGC are being submitted for ISO work.
OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 250 companies, government agencies and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications. OpenGIS(R) 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 http://www.opengeospatial.org.
Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. Sam Bacharach, 703-352-3938 Email Contact