Welcome to GISWeekly! This week the Open GIS Consortium announced a new Interoperability Initiative to extend their Open Web Services (OWS) standards, further advancing their interoperability framework for use within a multi-vendor enterprise, and to establish geoprocessing interoperability between business and government enterprises. I spoke with Kurt Buehler of OGC to find out what the new Initiative has in store for participants and sponsors.
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New OGC Web Services Initiative Announcement
By Susan Smith
This week the Open GIS Consortium announced a new Interoperability Initiative to extend their Open Web Services (OWS) standards, further advancing their interoperability framework for use within a multi-vendor enterprise, and to establish geoprocessing interoperability between business and government enterprises. I spoke with Kurt Buehler of OGC to find out what the new Initiative has in store for participants and sponsors.
This is OGC's fourth major web services testbed. With OWS-2 they plan a low-key concluding event for sponsors to demonstrate developmental capabilities. For OGC capabilities that are farther along in the process, said Buehler, “our members are now doing major public demonstrations at events like Geotec and GITA. These demonstrations are typically conducted on the exhibit floor, and represent a coordinated set of demos by our members based on clients and services illustrating a theme of the member's choosing.”
“What we plan for this OWS-2 Initiative are two demonstrations that tie together the variety of work being advanced across the tesbed. OWS-2 is a developmental initiative so we're looking at specific technical challenges that OGC members want to try to solve,” explained Buehler. “One demonstration is based on a natural resources fire management theme. This demonstration is intended to tie together pieces from several OWS-2 threads including Image Handling for Decision Support, Information Interoperability, Common Architecture and potentially Location Services. The featured activity of the natural resources demo is to chain together interoperable web services using the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) from OASIS ). Standards-based image processing services will be developed to identify and classify areas of active fire and burn areas and annotate the imagery with that information. A service chain featuring Web Coverage Servers (WCS), the web-based image classification service, and orthorectification / coordinate transformation services will be accessed and managed through a decision support client developed as part of OWS-2.”
OGC is building Geography Markup Language (GML) application schemas for the FGDC Geospatial One-Stop framework data layers. Added Buehler: “There are several standards for the data coming out of the Geospatial One-Stop effort; they're actually in the ANSI process right now for national standardization. The data models are expressed in Unified Modeling Language (UML), and we will use a tool we're developing in OWS-2 to automatically generate GML from those models, we will then populate servers with data that conforms to those application schemas and visualize those vector data as basemap information for the image processing element of the demo.”
The other OWS-2 demonstration focuses on the use of GML to enable information exchange for defense applications, according to Buehler. GML application schemas representing information content from defense mapping products will be developed. “Off-the-shelf” software and the GML-based application schemas will show the ability to more easily exchange and add value to information in an operational environment. Two major vendors, Intergraph and ESRI, will extend their products to ingest, visualize, and add value to data encoded according to the application schemas.
What are some of the main challenges faced by the OGC?
“Further integration with mainstream web services technologies like WSDL, SOAP and BPEL,” replied Buehler. “Our users and members said that we need to look at how OGC Web Services integrate with mainstream web services technologies. We were actually making web service specifications before SOAP and WSDL were solidified in the IT market. We used the available technology which was XML over the http protocol. Another of our challenges is demonstrating how GML can be used. For example, the UK Ordnance Survey, with their MasterMap data, uses a GML application schema to deliver the data to its customers. The process of creating this application schema required a lot of time and expertise. We are hoping to identify and document a process for application schema development that is quicker and easier.”
Buehler said you could take a UML model from your neighbor, for example, and modify it slightly to match your needs then generate a GML application schema from it. “The idea is to enable more people who don't know the details of XML schemas by making an open source tool. We are also making schema editing and schema subsetting tools that are specifically designed to help people with GML. These latter tools could become plug-ins to a technology like Altova's XML Spy, which is a very common XML editor. We are working with the developers to make these tools available to industry.”
“One of the major issues with XML that applies to any XML schema, is if you want to use parts of different standards schemas you've got to figure out a way to integrate them into your application schemas. These tools should make that job a lot easier.”
The Image Handling for Decision Support thread establishes a new benchmark for creating value-added products to support geospatially enabled decisions. A BPEL-based user-defined workflow will enable the chaining of web services data providers and image processing services to accomplish a task. “People can start to think of their enterprise business requirements, and how it's possible to integrate standard web services with legacy or non-standard web services to satisfy those requirements,” said Buehler. “We're working with a company called Collaxa, the maker of a BPEL execution engine, software that helps you design and manage business process flows. They have several customers including the European Space Agency so they have some experience in imagery and geospatial already.”
The OGC's Open Location Services or OpenLS are specifications for a set of services that provide an interoperability platform for wireless operators like Verizon, Nextel, etc. This platform provides a set of services to help them with their location service problems. As part of this platform, noted Buehler, “There is a location utility service that has reverse geocoding in it so you can say 'here I am with my cell phone--where am I? What's my street address?' There's also a directory service that says 'given where I am, where is the nearest Chinese restaurant?' We have a routing service that can say, 'given where I am and where this Chinese restaurant is, what's the best route for me to get there?' A presentation service takes this and draws it on a handset. It's very similar to our web map service interface except it's tuned for an LS environment where your bandwidth is extremely limited. Most of the major vendors in the space are implementing all or part of this OpenLS platform.”
Open Location Services version 2 offers two new services; navigation services and Location Refinement Services. Navigation Services will include turn-by-turn driving directions. Location Refinement services enable users to ask, 'given where I am, snap me to a road network.'
The OWS-2 participants are also developing compliance testing to improve the OpenGIS specifications for Web Map Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Coverage Service (WCS) and Catalog Services -Web (CS-W). “We started last year working on a project with The Open Group, who have extensive experience with compliance and performance testing,” Buehler explained. “They helped us make a testing capability to allowed us to script tests for our web services specifications. OGC members have developed tests for WMS 1.1.1 and WFS 1.0. In OWS-2 participants are going to be working on the next version of Web Map Service (1.3), the next version of Web Feature Service (1.1), Web Coverage Service (1.0) which is our image data access, and Catalog Services (2.0) which is a specification for cataloguing data and services. In writing the compliance tests, one of the positive by-products is that many specification ambiguities will be identified and corrected during the process.”
“One of the ways we do business at OGC is via these collaborative engineering initiatives These initiatives allow us to actually build the stuff, try it out, and learn with our members,” concluded Buehler, adding: “Things that come out of these web services initiatives and testbeds are not officially adopted within the Consortium. They still need to go through the formal member consensus process, but since there are members in support of them already, this path is usually more efficient.”
Michael Baker Corporation announced that its Michael Baker Jr., Inc., engineering unit has successfully completed its negotiations with the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and has been awarded a five-year contract to serve as the Program Manager to develop, plan, manage, implement, and monitor the Multi-Hazard Flood Map Modernization (MHFMM) Program for flood hazard mitigation across the United States and its territories.
SANZ (OTCBB: SANZ) announced that, Earth Satellite Corporation (EarthSat) a subsidiary of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. has been appointed a reseller of SANZ's EarthWhere Spatial Data Provisioning application software. EarthSat will bundle offer EarthWhere with its data products, providing its customers with a turnkey data management and provisioning solution that can be easily plugged into an environment for immediate use.
NAVTEQ and the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that NAVTEQ has become a Strategic Member of the OGC.
Space Imaging announced that it has become a Friends of the Future sponsor of ColoradoFIRST and, as an early adopter, has also been designated a ColoradoFIRST Launch Partner. ColoradoFIRST ( www.ColoradoFIRST.org) was formed in Colorado to launch and build major participation in the FIRST ("For the Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology") program. FIRST ( www.usfirst.org) is a national community outreach organization with a track record of more than 10 years for positively impacting school-aged children through a variety of educational programs supported by local businesses, universities and mentors.
DigitalGlobe® unveiled details of the company's next-generation imaging satellite, WorldView. The new satellite, set to launch no later than 2006, will be the world's highest resolution commercial imaging satellite with better agility, accuracy and collection capacity than any other known commercial system. The WorldView imaging system will allow DigitalGlobe to substantially expand its imagery product offerings to both commercial and government customers worldwide.
The U.S. Air Force is ready to launch an upgraded Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) aboard a Delta II rocket on March 20, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Improved satellite features include an advanced antenna panel, which will deliver greater performance and power for GPS receivers.
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced it has been selected by the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) to participate in the OGC Web Services Phase 2 Initiative (OWS-2). Intergraph, along with OGC and other selected technology providers, will develop and enhance OGC Web Services standards that enable the easy discovery, access and use of geographic data and geoprocessing services. The Council of the European Union, General Secretariat, has chosen Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (NASDAQ: INGR) to deliver a GIS system to support the European Union Military Staff (EUMS). The EUMS will use Intergraph's GeoMedia(R) desktop and Web solutions to manage, query and analyze digital geographic data to support day-to-day strategic planning and operations.
DeLorme, an innovator of GPS and GIS mapping solutions, introduced XMap 4.5. XMap 4.5 is the most recent release in the DeLorme line of basic XMap mapping software. This new release expands upon the geospatial functions of previous XMap releases with many feature enhancements, including the ability to view GIS analysis prepared using XMap/GIS Editor.
AnchorPoint, provider of integrated Telecommunications Financial Management (TFM) solutions, announces the availability of AnchorPoint(TM) E-911 5.0, a set of tools that automatically update a company's emergency Automatic Location Identification (ALI) information, and deliver the information directly to its regional E-911 service provider.
Intranet Intelligence has been unveiled by Kingswood MapMechanics, a UK specialist in business analysis and geographic information systems. The product is an “affordable and practical approach to sharing corporate data within an organisation, coordinating resources centrally while preserving interactive and fully customisable local access.”
GeoGraphs Systems Corporation announced the release of GeoFlash Pro 2004. This latest version of the leading-edge GeoFlash product line incorporates Open Source technology such as PHP, MySQL, Apache Server and Macromedia FlashMX 2004. Implementation of this technology brings a breakthrough in the price and performance to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Internet Map Server markets - bringing revolutionary cost savings on installations and GIS server software royalties.
2004 CTIA Wireless Expo Product & Announcements
At the 2004 CTIA Wireless Expo, several product announcements were made. The award ceremony held on Wednesday, March 23 was sponsored by NAVTEQ. Networks in Motion, the grand prize winner, received $100,000 worth of NAVTEQ Map licenses for up to a year and a advertising package from Mobile Media in the amount of $20,000. Quarterscope Solutions and Ulocate were second runners-up and received extended development and demonstration rights to aid in their product development.
Other products featured at the Expo included: Now Enterprises who has a Locator Product Solution with a growth path to other Wireless LBS Applications.
Kivera, provider of wireless mobile applications and business solutions for Global 1000 companies, has developed a powerful BREW and Java-based core application framework that enables the rapid development of a new class of mobile applications using real-time mapping display and the delivery of dynamic content.
Tele Atlas, a worldwide provider of digital maps and location content, unveiled at CTIA Wireless 2004 a comprehensive evaluation program offered in conjunction with location and platform technology providers that will set quality standards for LBS content used in wireless LBS applications. The Tele Atlas Data Experience Evaluation Program offers a unique industry solution to increase adoption and usage of wireless location-based services.
Autodesk Location Services, a division of Autodesk, Inc. , announced the latest version of its carrier-grade software platform for location-enhanced services, Autodesk(R) LocationLogic 5. Unlike wireless-enabled GIS platforms, Autodesk LocationLogic was built from the ground up to meet the needs of wireless network operators. Autodesk Location Services also showcased this week a new application that will enable wireless network operators to increase data traffic and affiliated revenue through the location-enablement of camera phone images. Built on the Autodesk LocationLogic software platform and utilizing J2ME technology, Autodesk Location Services' new application adds both location and time “stamps” to camera phone images. The images can then be uploaded to a web site and viewed by the subscriber individually, or on a map of the area where they were taken.
Telcontar, a supplier of software and related services for Location-Based Services (LBS), announced that it has released its all-new Mobile Location Server(TM) - Enterprise Edition. The Mobile Location Server - Enterprise Edition is designed for use by large enterprises with hundreds of physical locations and the need to provide location information, maps and driving directions from their web site. The Mobile Location Server - Enterprise Edition is a complete solution, including Telcontar's Drill Down Server(TM) and all required map data, data services, integration services and training. The Mobile Location Server - Enterprise Edition also supports a myriad of Telcontar or third-party applications that leverage the same Drill Down Server platform and can enable other applications such as Mobile Resource Management, CRM or asset tracking.
A new API from MapQuest, MapQuest Advantage API offers customers a service in a MapQuest hosted environment or for use with Advantage Enterprise, a “behind the firewall” product. The latest API offering has more features, data, and capabilities that add value to application breadth and reducing time to deployment
At CTIA, Vindigo Studios, known as a developer and publisher of consumer applications for mobile devices, and AT&T Wireless, announced the launch of MapQuest® Mobile, powered by Vindigo. This premium service, which offers MapQuest maps and directions, is now available to AT&T Wireless mMode subscribers.
MapInfo Corporation announced the introduction of its location-based demographic analysis solution designed specifically for telecommunications companies. MapInfo has made its Predictive Analytics solution available to help communications companies perform in-depth analysis of customers, new markets and potential adoption of new products or services. MapInfo Corporation announced several new imagery offerings for its location intelligence solutions. Through partnerships with AirPhotoUSA and GlobeXplorer, MapInfo users can integrate high quality, descriptive aerial imagery data instantly into their MapInfo MapX , MapInfo Professional® and MapInfo® MapXtreme® Windows solutions to enhance visual displays and perform more accurate business and spatial analysis.
John Copple, CEO of Sanborn, provider of geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial solutions, named Jay Tilley executive vice president of programs and products for the Colorado Springs office, effective immediately. In this newly created position, Tilley will be responsible for overseeing Sanborn's digital camera program, as well as managing advanced product development and implementation for the company.
Going on Around the Web...
Mar's Rover's Day at the Beach Wired, by Amit Asaravala, March 23, 2004 -- At least one region of Mars was once immersed in a salty sea that might have supported life, said NASA officials on Tuesday.
Prediction Tool Puts Development in Hands of Locals, National Geographic News, by John Roach, March 24, 2004-- Indonesia's poorest province, Papua, is a natural-resource trove that is both awaiting exploitation and begging for protection. Conservationists hope an innovative software program will help residents guide the province to sustainable development.
Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference
Date: March 28 - 31, 2004
Place: Austin, TX USA
The International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) are pleased to announce the EIGHTH Annual Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference, to be held March 28?31, 2004 in Austin, Texas. This conference is designed to foster interaction among those who strive to use technology ? at its highest and best use ? to improve the appraisal process.
The GeoTec Event - Pathways to Integration
Date: March 28 - 31, 2004
Place: Metro Toronto Convention Centre Toronto, Ontario, Canada
APS April Meeting 2004
Date: April 12 - 16, 2004
Place: Orlando, FL USA
AeroSense is now the SPIE Defense and Security Symposium. This symposium is designed to meet the technical, educational, and business needs of the engineers and scientists who develop technologies for sensor related defense and security applications. Come see Research Systems Inc. at: Booth# 1036
14th Annual Nevada GIS Conference
Date: April 14 - 16, 2004
Place: Las Vegas, NV USA
The 14th annual Nevada Geographic Information Society conference will be held April 14-16th , 2004 at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The theme for this year's conference is "Address: Nevada, Planet Earth". The focus for this annual conference will spotlight on technology that is being implemented in the state of Nevada that highlights the connectivity of GIS.
FME Training Course Outline
Date: April 15 - 16, 2004
Place: Denver, CO USA
Join our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) course and learn to unlock the powerful features of FME to more effectively manage your data translation and data transformation challenges. FME Training can help open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are welcome to bring their own sample data files.
International Symposium on Spatial Data Quality (ISSDQ 2004)
Date: April 15 - 17, 2004
Place: Vienna, Austria
The conference should present new research results in all aspects of spatial data quality and how spatial data quality descriptions are used to sole real world problems.
MidAmerica GIS Symposium
Date: April 18 - 22, 2004
Place: Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Kansas City, MO USA
2004 ACSM-TAPS Annual Conference and Technology Exhibition
Date: April 16 - 21, 2004
Place: Nashville, TN USA
MidAmerica GIS Symposium
Date: April 18 - 22, 2004
Place: Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Kansas City, MO USA
The MidAmerica GIS Symposium is the major GIS conference event in the central Midwest sponsored by the MidAmerica GIS Consortium, Ltd. (MAGIC), a nonprofit educational organization.
2004 INTERMOUNTAIN GIS CONFERENCE
Date: April 19 - 23, 2004
Place: Sheraton Hotel Billings, MT USA
The 2004 Intermountain GIS Conference, sponsored by the Montana GIS Users Group and the Northern Rockies Chapter of URISA, will bring participants together for an exciting week-long program centered in the theme, "GIS -- Tools of Discovery" linking the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to modern day geospatial technologies.
Date: April 22, 2004
Place: Metro Toronto Convention Centre Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Whether you are a power user, developer, manager or are new to using MapInfo, MapWorld 2004 is the place to be.
APA National Planning Conference
Date: April 24 - 28, 2004
Place: Washington, D.C., USA
Join 5,000 colleagues and experience the rich history, renowned symbols of patriotism, inspiring monuments, museums, neighborhoods, and much more - as APA celebrates its 25th anniversary. Take part in a conference rich with more than 200 sessions, 70-plus mobile workshops, Saturday workshops, and special events, all of which will give you an opportunity to explore Washington and the entire metropolitan area.
GITA Annual Conference 27
Date: April 25 - 28, 2004
Place: Seattle, WA USA
GITA's Annual Conference and Exhibition is the premier educational event for professionals involved in geospatial information technologies, including automated mapping/facilities management (AM/FM), geographic information systems (GIS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and related geospatial technologies. The MidAmerica GIS Symposium is the major GIS conference event in the central Midwest sponsored by the MidAmerica GIS Consortium, Ltd. (MAGIC), a nonprofit educational organization.