Re: GeoTIFF and the OGC

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Re: GeoTIFF and the OGC

Carl Reed
Dear GeoTIFF list -
 
At the recent OGC meetings in Darmstadt, several OGC Members (large user organizations) asked whether there is any interest on the part of the OGC to move GeoTIFF into the OGC standards process and eventually make GeoTIFF an international standard. As we have done with other de-facto standards submitted into the OGC standards process, I would see very few (if any) normative changes to the document as it moves to a version 1.0 OGC standard. I know that the implementation community would not appreciate any "normative changes"! Further, as with KML, CF-NetCDF and other documents, we believe that maintaining a strong collaborative relationship with the existing GeoTIFF community is critical.
 
As part of this process, the OGC and OGC Members would be responsible for reformatting the document into the proper template, marshalling volunteer resources to move the document through the OGC process, and to insure proper communication and engagement with the current GeoTIFF community.
 
Your thoughts regarding this proposal are appreciated!
 
Thanks and regards
Carl Reed, PhD
CTO and Executive Director Specification Program
OGC
 
The OGC: Helping the World to Communicate Geographically
 
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Re: GeoTIFF and the OGC

Howard Butler

On Oct 26, 2009, at 12:59 PM, Carl Reed wrote:

> Dear GeoTIFF list -
>
> At the recent OGC meetings in Darmstadt, several OGC Members (large  
> user organizations) asked whether there is any interest on the part  
> of the OGC to move GeoTIFF into the OGC standards process and  
> eventually make GeoTIFF an international standard. As we have done  
> with other de-facto standards submitted into the OGC standards  
> process, I would see very few (if any) normative changes to the  
> document as it moves to a version 1.0 OGC standard. I know that the  
> implementation community would not appreciate any "normative  
> changes"! Further, as with KML, CF-NetCDF and other documents, we  
> believe that maintaining a strong collaborative relationship with  
> the existing GeoTIFF community is critical.
>
> As part of this process, the OGC and OGC Members would be  
> responsible for reformatting the document into the proper template,  
> marshalling volunteer resources to move the document through the OGC  
> process, and to insure proper communication and engagement with the  
> current GeoTIFF community.
>
> Your thoughts regarding this proposal are appreciated!
>

My concerns with the approach the following:

- OGC subsuming the current GeoTIFF specification and becoming its  
ongoing authority effectively destroys any grass roots community that  
has sprung up around geotiff because of OGC's membership  
requirements.   Casual or short-term-to-complete-this-job interest in  
geotiff is effectively shut out from participating, though you could  
argue there isn't much of this anyway.
- OGC hasn't demonstrated that it can pull community-developed  
specifications into its world and have the community that birthed them  
survive the process.  Does OGC's sausage taste that much better than  
sausage made outside the OGC?
- GeoTIFF already has a widely used and effective reference  
implementation -- libgeotiff.  That's more authority than a document  
stamped with an organization's letterhead can ever hope to be.

What benefits would this development be to the GeoTIFF community other  
than forced acceptance of OGC-style axis order discipline? ;)  Is the  
main benefit is to be the ability to make changes to the specification  
that implementers will have to implement to be compliant? Why try to  
evolve a specification that has been widely used and unchanged for  
nearly 10 years?
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Re: GeoTIFF and the OGC

Siri Jodha Khalsa
NASA's Standards Process Group seeks to recognize community-developed standards and has a review process that relies on community experience with such standards. A NASA-endorsed standard can be recommended for usage in future missions, such as the Decadal Survey missions currently formulating their science data processing systems (DESDynI, ICESat-II, SMAP, CLARREO, etc.)

The review process is started with submission of an RFC to the SPG.  Such a move was initiated by the GeoTIFF community some years back, but ran out of steam before the document was prepared.

Perhaps someone is willing to renew this effort?

SiriJodha S. Khalsa

Howard Butler wrote:
On Oct 26, 2009, at 12:59 PM, Carl Reed wrote:

  
Dear GeoTIFF list -

At the recent OGC meetings in Darmstadt, several OGC Members (large  
user organizations) asked whether there is any interest on the part  
of the OGC to move GeoTIFF into the OGC standards process and  
eventually make GeoTIFF an international standard. As we have done  
with other de-facto standards submitted into the OGC standards  
process, I would see very few (if any) normative changes to the  
document as it moves to a version 1.0 OGC standard. I know that the  
implementation community would not appreciate any "normative  
changes"! Further, as with KML, CF-NetCDF and other documents, we  
believe that maintaining a strong collaborative relationship with  
the existing GeoTIFF community is critical.

As part of this process, the OGC and OGC Members would be  
responsible for reformatting the document into the proper template,  
marshalling volunteer resources to move the document through the OGC  
process, and to insure proper communication and engagement with the  
current GeoTIFF community.

Your thoughts regarding this proposal are appreciated!

    

My concerns with the approach the following:

- OGC subsuming the current GeoTIFF specification and becoming its  
ongoing authority effectively destroys any grass roots community that  
has sprung up around geotiff because of OGC's membership  
requirements.   Casual or short-term-to-complete-this-job interest in  
geotiff is effectively shut out from participating, though you could  
argue there isn't much of this anyway.
- OGC hasn't demonstrated that it can pull community-developed  
specifications into its world and have the community that birthed them  
survive the process.  Does OGC's sausage taste that much better than  
sausage made outside the OGC?
- GeoTIFF already has a widely used and effective reference  
implementation -- libgeotiff.  That's more authority than a document  
stamped with an organization's letterhead can ever hope to be.

What benefits would this development be to the GeoTIFF community other  
than forced acceptance of OGC-style axis order discipline? ;)  Is the  
main benefit is to be the ability to make changes to the specification  
that implementers will have to implement to be compliant? Why try to  
evolve a specification that has been widely used and unchanged for  
nearly 10 years? 
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-- 
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National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449 Phone: 1-303-492-1445 
http://cires.colorado.edu/~khalsa

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Re: GeoTIFF and the OGC

Carl Reed
In reply to this post by Howard Butler
Well, Howard, there is a GeoTIFF user community out there that 1.) does not
want to see the GeoTIFF grassroots community "destroyed" but 2.) does want
GeoTIFF to be an international standard that can be referenced as such in
policy and procurement. What would you suggest we do??

That said, I am sorry you have issues with the OGC process. But based on
what you have written, I believe you may have some misconceptions about the
OGC and OGC processes.

The OGC process is much more open to non-Member participation than you
believe.

1. OGC Working Groups can be made open to participation by OGC Members and
non-Members. For example, the OGC Mass Market, Hydrology, and
Meteorology/Oceans Domain Working Groups are open to anyone who wishes to
participate.
2. The entire change request process is publicly accessible. Anyone at any
time can submit a change request using the public change request proposal
web application. All change requests, whether Member or non-Member in origin
are publicly accessible.
3. OGC Interoperability Experiments can have non-Member participation. The
only stipulation is that the non-Member must sign a participant agreement.
Both the Galeon and the Oceans Interoperability Experiments have non-Member
participation.
4. OGCNetwork is a public resource that anyone at anytime can provide and
maintain content. OGCNetwork is a community resource.
5. Any draft/candidate standards are required to go to a 30 day public
comment period. Anyone can provide comments (Members and non-Members).
6. All OGC face to face minutes are made publicly available (this was at the
suggestion of the OSGeo community!)

As you can see, there are many points of opportunity for continued
collaboration between the GeoTIFF community and the OGC community.

Perhaps even more importantly, the OSGeo and OGC Memorandum of Understanding
provides the mechanism for providing free OGC membership to OSGeo
participants. Specifically: OGC provides OSGeo with six one year Individual
Memberships in the OGC at no charge, to be awarded to qualifying OSGeo
members based on a selection process to be conducted by OSGeo.  So, if you
are willing to help, there is a mechanism!

As to reference implementations and so forth, this is great!  One of the
requirements for a document becoming an OGC standard is that there be
reference implementations.

As to a community standard surviving the OGC process, well there is no
intention on the part of the OGC to stop the community process. And if
individuals such as yourself particpate and help in the process then we can
insure that the communtiy process does survive. An excellent example is
CityGML (www.citygml.org). CityGML started outside the OGC process, was
brought into the OGC, and became a standard. The community process is still
strong, vigorous, and the source of most of the change requests for a
revision to the current OGC CityGML standard. The community process is an
excellent source of expertise, development, testing, and creative ideas. No
one wants such processes to stop. If they do, it may be because the
community process was not viable to begin with (my perception).

As to the OGC statement on axis order, the OSGeo community was included in
the dialogue. The basic guidance is that the schema, documentation, or
encoding shall state the access order. Specifically from the guidance, ". .
. any documentation, encoding, payload, or service interface MUST state how
the coordinate axis order is actually encoded in the coordinate strings."
What is so onerous about that? If one does not honestly state how
coordinates are actually encoded in a payload, then interoperability is
broken.

Finally, where in my email did I mention "evolve"?? Revisions to any OGC
standard only happen if change requests are submitted and the community
wishes to evolve a spec. Period. And the evolution can happen entirely
outside the OGC and then change requests submitted into the OGC process.
This is how KML is evolving.

I may not allay your fears, but hopefully I have provided more food for
thought.

Regards

Carl



----- Original Message -----
From: "Howard Butler" <[hidden email]>
To: "Carl Reed" <[hidden email]>
Cc: "GeoTIFF" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2009 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: [Geotiff] GeoTIFF and the OGC


>
> On Oct 26, 2009, at 12:59 PM, Carl Reed wrote:
>
>> Dear GeoTIFF list -
>>
>> At the recent OGC meetings in Darmstadt, several OGC Members (large  user
>> organizations) asked whether there is any interest on the part  of the
>> OGC to move GeoTIFF into the OGC standards process and  eventually make
>> GeoTIFF an international standard. As we have done  with other de-facto
>> standards submitted into the OGC standards  process, I would see very few
>> (if any) normative changes to the  document as it moves to a version 1.0
>> OGC standard. I know that the  implementation community would not
>> appreciate any "normative  changes"! Further, as with KML, CF-NetCDF and
>> other documents, we  believe that maintaining a strong collaborative
>> relationship with  the existing GeoTIFF community is critical.
>>
>> As part of this process, the OGC and OGC Members would be  responsible
>> for reformatting the document into the proper template,  marshalling
>> volunteer resources to move the document through the OGC  process, and to
>> insure proper communication and engagement with the  current GeoTIFF
>> community.
>>
>> Your thoughts regarding this proposal are appreciated!
>>
>
> My concerns with the approach the following:
>
> - OGC subsuming the current GeoTIFF specification and becoming its
> ongoing authority effectively destroys any grass roots community that  has
> sprung up around geotiff because of OGC's membership  requirements.
> Casual or short-term-to-complete-this-job interest in  geotiff is
> effectively shut out from participating, though you could  argue there
> isn't much of this anyway.
> - OGC hasn't demonstrated that it can pull community-developed
> specifications into its world and have the community that birthed them
> survive the process.  Does OGC's sausage taste that much better than
> sausage made outside the OGC?
> - GeoTIFF already has a widely used and effective reference
> implementation -- libgeotiff.  That's more authority than a document
> stamped with an organization's letterhead can ever hope to be.
>
> What benefits would this development be to the GeoTIFF community other
> than forced acceptance of OGC-style axis order discipline? ;)  Is the
> main benefit is to be the ability to make changes to the specification
> that implementers will have to implement to be compliant? Why try to
> evolve a specification that has been widely used and unchanged for  nearly
> 10 years?

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Re: GeoTIFF and the OGC

Frank Warmerdam
In reply to this post by Howard Butler
Howard Butler wrote:

> On Oct 26, 2009, at 12:59 PM, Carl Reed wrote:
>
>> Dear GeoTIFF list -
>>
>> At the recent OGC meetings in Darmstadt, several OGC Members (large  
>> user organizations) asked whether there is any interest on the part  
>> of the OGC to move GeoTIFF into the OGC standards process and  
>> eventually make GeoTIFF an international standard. As we have done  
>> with other de-facto standards submitted into the OGC standards  
>> process, I would see very few (if any) normative changes to the  
>> document as it moves to a version 1.0 OGC standard. I know that the  
>> implementation community would not appreciate any "normative  
>> changes"! Further, as with KML, CF-NetCDF and other documents, we  
>> believe that maintaining a strong collaborative relationship with  
>> the existing GeoTIFF community is critical.
>>
>> As part of this process, the OGC and OGC Members would be  
>> responsible for reformatting the document into the proper template,  
>> marshalling volunteer resources to move the document through the OGC  
>> process, and to insure proper communication and engagement with the  
>> current GeoTIFF community.
>>
>> Your thoughts regarding this proposal are appreciated!

Carl,

I am generally supportive of this process.  My main concern is
that the non-OGC portion of the GeoTIFF community be able to
view the draft specification as it is under development in
order to provide feedback.

Howard Butler wrote:
> My concerns with the approach the following:
...
> What benefits would this development be to the GeoTIFF community other  
> than forced acceptance of OGC-style axis order discipline? ;)  Is the  
> main benefit is to be the ability to make changes to the specification  
> that implementers will have to implement to be compliant? Why try to  
> evolve a specification that has been widely used and unchanged for  
> nearly 10 years?

I personally hope the somewhat rigorous OGC process will help hammer out
various unclear points in the current specification.  Parameters that
go with projection methods, meaning of pixel-is-point, and clarity on
how GeoTIFF relates to the evolving EPSG database for instance.

Once the existing GeoTIFF 1.0 is refined and clarified - perhaps as
an OGC GeoTIFF 1.1 specification, I would also be interested in
development of a moderately more sophisticated specification adding
preferred datum shift transformation parameters, and more completely
supporting vertical datums.  Possibly even discussing how to carry
OGC GML or FGDC style metadata payloads in TIFF.

As Siri Jodha mentions, the NASA SPD process for community based
data standards would also be acceptable to me.  The problem with
that in the past, as noted, is that myself and another volunteer
ran out of juice to follow it through.  Before launching down the
OGC route I would want to know that there is one or more volunteers
willing to take on the editorial work.

I also do feel that an OGC standard will have broader respect globally
compared to a NASA SPD standard.

Lastly, I would like to point out that I have agonized over the
lack of an accepted mechanism to update or refine the existing
GeoTIFF specification.  While I'm not super keen on the procedural
overhead of OGC, it does provide a respected mechanism to reach
consensus and approve a document.

I am interested to hear from other members of the GeoTIFF
community (for my purposes I mean this mailing list) who
would be interested in participating in a GeoTIFF working
group at OGC.  I'm particularly interested in those who
could be their as representatives of existing OGC members.

I would be interested in participating, likely via an
OSGeo OGC "slot" under the OSGeo / OGC MOU.  However, I
am not able to make it to very many OGC meetings in person
and I know myself well enough to realize I'm not the right
person to take on much of the editorial work.

Best regards,
--
---------------------------------------+--------------------------------------
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, [hidden email]
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

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