The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) was founded in 1994 to make geographic information an integral part of the world’s information infrastructure. OGC members – technology providers and technology users – collaboratively develop open interface standards and associated encoding standards, and also best practices, that enable developers to create information systems that can easily exchange “geospatial” information and instructions with other information systems. Requirements range from complex scheduling and control of Earth observation satellites to displaying simple map images on the Web and encoding location in just a few bytes for geo-tagging and messaging. A look at the OGC Domain Working Groups shows the wide scope of current activity in the OGC.

The OGC Standards Baseline consists of the OGC standards for interfaces, encodings, profiles, application schemas, and best practice documents. The OGC Reference Model (ORM) describes these standards and the relationships between them and related ISO standards. The ORM provides an overview of OGC standards and serves as a useful resource for defining architectures for specific applications.

In developing a Web services application using OGC standards (and in learning about the relationships between OGC standards) it helps to think of publish, find and bind as the key functions for applications in a Web services environment.

  • Publish: Resource providers advertise their resources.
  • Find: End users and their applications can discover resources that they need at run-time.
  • Bind: End users and their applications can access and exercise resources at run-time.

Most of the OGC standards developed in recent years are standards for the Web services environment, and these standards are collectively referred to as OGC Web Services (OWS). A comprehensive list of standards is available.