85th AMS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, 12 January 2005
Applying OpenGIS Consortium standards to environmental observations and display
Gerald J Creager, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
The atmospheric sciences community has long represented its data geospatially. The nature of environmental measurements from in-situ instrumentation supports this approach, as these measurements are effectively point-source data from well-known locations. Recently, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to display environmental data has begun to achieve momentum. However, there remain issues associated with data exchange, representation and visualization.

The OpenGIS Consortium (OGC) was conceived as a GIS industry consortium whose goal was to promote data interoperability between software offerings from the various vendors. Over its 10-year history, OGC has grown from 8 initial board members to over 250 partners from government, industry, and academiathe community.

This report discusses the following specifications of interest to the community: Geographic Markup Language GML is a standard method of describing the geospatial characteristics of a datapoint or dataset. GML is a key element of other specifications and abstract specs. Open Web Services OWS is a group of three pertinent Services identified and codified as standards by OGC. These include Web Map Services, providing a geo-referenced map image with data selectable remotely for use on a local system Web Feature Services, providing full dataset information about a map or GIS feature (a discreet element that may comprise a point, area, volume or image) Web Coverage Services, where raster data and the cellular data attributed to individual pixels are available SensorML SensorML is an extensible markup language derived to describe sensors, their platforms and environs, and the data they measure or observe. SensorML is designed to be a self-contained, self-encapsulated document, incorporating both sensor data and observables, and metadata about the document itself. SensorWeb Although not technically an OGC area, all of the aforementioned specifications are enabling technologies for the NASA-sponsored SensorWeb, an independent network of wireless, intracommunicating sensor pods designed for environmental monitoring.

Although the requirements of the atmospheric sciences community have unique aspects when considering environmental monitoring, the community can benefit from the initial work OGC has already done, leading to better ways to represent and exchange data within our discipline.

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