The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) recently approved two new compliance tests and a series of tools to encourage software developers to validate software products that implement OpenGIS Specifications. A new website
(https://www.opengis.org/resources/?page=testing) provides automated testing for Web Map Service 1.1.1 (WMS) and Web Feature Service 1.0 (WFS), a Geography Markup Language (GML) validation tool and links to reference implementations. Developers that successfully test for compliance with WMS and WFS specifications and want to claim or indicate compliance of their product in the marketplace must submit their results for validation, and pay a trademark licensing fee.
Compliance certification assures buyers that a vendor’s product correctly implements OpenGIS specifications. “Moreover,” says Kurt Buehler, OGC CTO, “these tests and tools will stabilize the marketplace by providing an unambiguous definition of compliant implementations and will provide a significant step forward toward OGC’s vision of interoperability.”
The tests and resources are the result work on the Compliance & Interoperability Test & Evaluation Initiative (CITE). CITE was sponsored by the European Union Satellite Center (EUSC), which sees the benefit of using standards-based software, and needed a way to insure its purchases of commercial off the shelf products meet its interoperability requirements.
The Compliance Tests
OGC commissioned a planning study from The Open Group, an organization
with a 20-year history of testing for the information technology community. The WMS and WFS test development teams were led by Northrop Grumman Information Technology and Galdos Systems respectively. The tests were ultimately implemented in collaboration with The Open Group, Galdos, and Northrop Grumman Information Technology.
CITE relied on OGC’s consensus process to build and put the tests through their paces. Research indicates that automated compliance tests developed via consensus tend to be far more successful than those developed by a single organization and later accredited by an outside firm.
The number of OpenGIS Specifications has jumped in the past few years. “There was no automated method established to test compliance to OGC Web Services,” explains Jen Marcus, CITE Initiative Manager, “so OGC called on our members with compliance testing experience to put forward their considerable expertise to address the challenge. Members then ‘tested the tests’ via four separate beta trials, which led us to the robust tests we offer today. “
The compliance tests are freely available to any developer who wants to test an implementation of WMS or WFS interface specifications. However, only those organizations that submit completed paperwork and appropriate fees can claim compliance in their sales and marketing literature. Buehler notes that developers can test over and over again as they make improvements in their implementations. “We encourage that type of iterative process and feel developers will learn quite a bit using the tests and will probably be able to shorten their development cycle,” he