The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) announced the successful completion of the Emergency Mapping Symbology (EMS) testbed. The project, begun in January 2004, enhanced and tested OpenGIS Specifications that enable the use of multiple symbol sets with one set of geospatial feature data. After the enhanced specifications are adopted by the OGC and implemented in interoperating software products, different emergency management agencies who use different symbol sets and different software will be able to share data and yet display it using symbols that may be familiar only within one agency.
The EMS Initiative matured the OGC’s specification framework for interoperable geographic symbolization while simultaneously testing emerging standard map symbol sets for emergency response developed by national-level agencies. The main OpenGIS Specifications involved in the testbed are the Style Management Service (SMS) and the Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) specifications. The effort employed the Emergency Response Map Symbology (ERMS) set being defined by the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s (FGDC) Homeland Security Work Group.
Three Canadian companies — CubeWerx, Galdos, and Compusult — were the participating companies. Sponsors included GeoConnections and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In the testbed, vendors, users, and others worked together to define services, interfaces and protocols in the context of a hands-on engineering effort. Sponsors provided cost-sharing funds to partially offset the development costs.