Initiative aims for Web-based GIS test

Open GIS Consortium

The OpenGIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) has launched an initiative that is expected to result in the first Web-based facility for validating GIS software products against industrywide interoperability specifications.

The end result will be a better and faster way of certifying to government and other buyers of spatial services and data that those products will work with one another.

The goal for the Conformance and Interoperability Test and Evaluation Initiative (CITE) is to build a scriptable engine that OGC members and the general public can access online and use to test software to see if it conforms to OGC specifications, said Kurt Buehler, OGC's vice president and chief technology officer.

"People will be able to register online, configure a test and actually run it through a Web interface," he said. "That way, people can test as they are developing their products so they can know early in the process what they need to do to have their software in compliance before they ship."

The OGC has a conformance testing program now that relies on software developers running their own scripts and then sending conformance reports to the OGC, which reviews them and validates whether the products match up with OGC specs, Buehler said.

"But, when we went to Web services [for this testing], for some reason we no longer got that voluntary creation of scripts," he said. "So we started to look into how we could provide a more reusable way of testing."

The first CITE engine is expected to be up and running in September, Buehler said.

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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