Time for a name change?

When the Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) was founded in 1994, getting proprietary geographic information systems to "talk" with one another was the organization's main focus. Since then, however, the need to access all kinds of geospatial data produced from various applications has become the target.

Geospatial data, also known as location-based data, is not produced just by GIS applications, but also by many other types of applications that manage information with a location-based element, such as a postal address.

This shift in priorities has some asking whether the name of the leading interoperability group still fits.

"I've been a proponent for changing the OGC name to the Open Geospatial Consortium," said Jack Pellicci, Oracle Corp.'s group vice president of business development. "We in Oracle and other companies are about geospatially enabling enterprises, and we need to get people to understand that this is about much more than just GIS technology and applications."

That's not a trivial concern to those who want to make a market, he said, because the projections for GIS sales are relatively flat "while the line for geospatial services is pretty steeply

upwards."

A name change is unlikely to happen soon because of trademark and other reasons, said Carl Reed, executive director of OGC's Specification Program.

However, he acknowledged that there was some pressure building in that direction. And within the consortium, there may already be recognition of the need, because staffers more readily refer to it using the acronym than the full name.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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