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Introduction to OGC Standards

The onset of the Information Age and Digital Revolution has created a knowledge based society where the internet acts as a global platform for the sharing of information. In a geospatial context, this resulted in an advancement of techniques in how we acquire, study and share geographic information and with the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), locational services, and online mapping, spatial data has never been more abundant. The transformation to this digital era has not been without its drawbacks, and a forty year lack of common polices to data sharing has resulted in compatibility issues and great diversity in how software and data are delivered.

Essential to the sharing of spatial information is interoperability, where different programmes can exchange and open data from various sources seamlessly. Applying universal standards across a sector provides interoperable solutions. The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) facilitates interoperability by providing open standard specifications which organisations can use to develop geospatial software. This means that two separate pieces of software or platforms, if developed using open standard specifications, can exchange data without compatibility issues. By defining these specifications and standards the OGC plays a crucial role in how geospatial information is shared on a global scale.

Standard specifications are the invisible glue that holds information systems together, without which, data sharing generally would be an arduous task. On some level they keep the world spinning and this course will instil some appreciation for them from a geospatial perspective.

This course introduces users to the OGC and all the common standards in the context of geoportals and mapping solutions. These standards are defined and explored using a number of platforms and interoperability is demonstrated in a practical sense. Finally, users will implement these standards to develop their own platforms for sharing geospatial information.