OGC encouraging local input

Open GIS Consortium

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The Open GIS Consortium (OGC) has created new and less expensive membership

levels in an attempt expand state and local government involvement in the

development of geographic information systems specifications.

The previous lowest level for input into GIS standards development was

as a "corporate associate," which cost $4,000 annually. Now, local governments

can pay $300, and the state fee is $1,000.

The OGC has had plenty of involvement from federal and national governments

as well as industry and academia in its efforts to develop GIS interoperability

specs. However, it has increasingly been looking for more state and local

input "to help kick the tires" at the OGC, said Mark Reichardt, the consortium's

executive director for outreach and community adoption.

The new associate memberships will be nonvoting, but Reichardt expects

that the state and local governments at this level still will be able to

wield a lot of influence on final definitions of specifications.

"They'll have direct contact with voting members during the deliberations

over the specifications and will be able to get their concerns over in person,"

he said. "This also provides industry members with a direct face to state

and local governments, something they have been anxious to develop."

OGC programs such as the Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative(CIPI)

stress the need for data sharing among all government levels and already

have a good idea of government GIS needs, Reichardt said. OGC leaders hope

the new memberships will increase state and local involvement to similar

levels in other programs as well.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be

reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

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

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