New OGC measurement encoding standard

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has approved the new OpenGIS(r) Observations & Measurements (O&M) Encoding Standard, which provides an Extensible Markup Language schema for describing what data means and enabling others to more quickly and easily make use of the data for other purposes.

'Typically today, when scientists do research they collect their data in their own vocabulary, in their own formats and so on,' Sam Bacharach, executive director of the OGC, told GCN. 'A great chunk of that data has scientific value for other studies. The hard part of getting that data ever used by others is the fact that while I can give you my data I don't have five hours to explain to you what the data means, of specifying what numbers are in what columns and what they mean. That is a tremendous deterrent to anybody else even wanting to use your data.'

'The initial work for O&M was done by a Ph.D. in Australia who wanted to express depth in millibars of atmospheric pressure,' Bacharach said. 'It became apparent that one of the big difficulties of sharing his scientific data was the description of the data so it could be understood on the receiving end with as little human explanation as possible.'

Since OGC represents more than 345 companies, government agencies, universities and research organizations and has been working closely with other standards organizations, Bacharach is hopeful that the new O&M standard will be broadly adopted and implemented.

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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