Open Geospatial Consortium

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Founded in 1994, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international voluntary consensus standards organization. In the OGC, more than 370+ commercial, governmental, nonprofit and research organizations worldwide collaborate in an open consensus process encouraging development and implementation of standards for geospatial content and services, GIS data processing and data sharing.

Prior to 2004, the organization was known as Open GIS Consortium.

A detailed history of the OGC is available.


Most of the OGC standards are based on a generalized architecture captured in a set of documents collectively called the Abstract Specification, which describes a basic data model for geographic features to be represented. Atop the Abstract Specification is a growing number of specifications, or standards, that have been (or are being) developed to serve specific needs for interoperable location and geospatial technology, including GIS.

Relationship between clients/servers and some OGC protocols
There are currently 28 standards in the OGC standards baseline, including:
  • OGC Reference Model - a complete set of reference models.
  • WMS - Web Map Service: Provides map images.
  • WFS - Web Feature Service: For retrieving or altering feature descriptions.
  • WCS - Web Coverage Service: Provide coverage objects from a specified region.
  • WPS - Web Processing Service: Remote processing service.
  • CSW - Web Catalog Service: Access to catalog information.
  • SFS - Simple Features - SQL
  • GML - Geography Markup Language: XML format for geographical information.
  • KML - Keyhole Markup Language: XML-based language schema for expressing geographic annotation and visualization on existing or future Web-based, two-dimensional maps and three-dimensional Earth browsers.
  • OWS - OGC Web Service Common
  • GeoXACML - Geospatial eXtensible Access Control Markup Language (currently being standardized)

These were originally designed around the HTTP web services paradigm for message-based interactions in web-based systems. However, in the last year the members have been working on defining a common approach for SOAP protocol and WSDL bindings. There has also been considerable work and progress in defining Representational State Transfer web services..

Organization structure

The OGC is divided into three operational units: The Specification program, the Interoperability Program, and Outreach and Community Adoption.


The OGC has a close relationship with ISO/TC 211 (Geographic Information/Geomatics). The OGC abstract specification is being progressively replaced by volumes from the ISO 19100 series under development by this committee. Further, the OGC standards Web Map Service, GML and Simple Features Access are ISO standards.

The OGC works with other international standards bodies including W3C, OASIS, WfMC, and the IETF.

See also

External links