Open Geospatial Consortium’s New Deal for Local and Subnational Governments

The OGC GovFuture Membership

By   Steven Ramage, Executive Director Marketing & Communications, OGC

Abstract: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), an international consensus standards organization, has worked since 1994 to integrate geospatial information into the world’s information infrastructure. OGC standards dissolve the stovepipes preventing geospatial data from moving between different systems. Now geospatial data is everywhere in the world’s digital information environments. This presents many opportunities, but also policy challenges for local, state and provincial governments. These governments are major OGC stakeholders because they have much to gain from more efficient and effective ways of sharing spatial data. Their policy challenges include introducing new workflows to their partners and constituents and managing the risks associated with making spatial data more accessible. This article describes GovFuture, a new OGC membership offering designed to help governments address these challenges.

The first of a planned series of free OGC GovFuture Webinars, produced and presented by Directions Media, is scheduled for 2 June 2011. Darren Mottolini, Business Development Manager for SLIP at Landgate in Australia, will be our featured speaker.  Darren will describe the groundbreaking SLIP project, which benefits citizens, businesses and communities by making it easy to share government land and property information. Attorney Kevin Pomfret, a member of the OGC Board of Directors who writes and speaks extensively on spatial law and policy, will review the privacy, security and data rights management issues surrounding government spatial data initiatives. Mark Reichardt, President and CEO of the OGC, will provide a brief introduction.

Through technical interoperability enabled by OGC standards, location information has become an integral part of the information environment for people working in local and subnational (county, province, district etc.) governments worldwide. Ubiquitous location information and geospatial processing offer governments unprecedented capabilities and efficiencies, but this progress also poses new challenges in areas such as privacy, security and data rights management, and in readjusting workflows and institutional arrangements.

The OGC membership includes both technology users and technology providers. National mapping agencies and many other government agencies collect and maintain important geospatial information.  These organizations represent an important subgroup of the technology users. The value of a network grows with the number of users, and so it is with National Spatial Data Infrastructures (NSDI). National to local government agencies have an interest in helping local and subnational jurisdictions deploy geospatial systems that use and contribute to their NSDIs. Many of the OGC members who are technology providers have local and subnational governments as customers, so they, too, support the OGC’s new outreach to these levels of government.

The OGC is a rapidly growing global hub of geospatial activity and is thus able to provide GovFuture members with access to a wide variety of information resources and networking opportunities.

The key thing to remember about GovFuture is that it is more about planning and policy than it is about technical nuts and bolts. At the OGC GovFuture website (http://www.ogcnetwork.net/node/1568) you can learn more about what OGC has in store for government stakeholders. We invite you to become a part of GovFuture!

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