The Vector Tiles Pilot, sponsored by the US Army Geospatial Center and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will advance an OGC approach to encode and publish Vector Tiles, and will propose extensions for WFS, WMTS, and GeoPackage.
Vector Tiles are an emerging technology that packages geographic data into predefined roughly-square shaped ‘tiles’ for efficient transfer over the web. Vector Tiles provide various opportunities, including: faster loading of web maps; flexible styling with modern, easy-to-use tools; and an incentive for commercial innovation while simplifying interoperability for command and control, consumer mapping, and many other applications.
Vector Tiles provide an efficient and effective method of delivering GeoINT data that can be queried and edited while remaining compact in file size. Sponsors of the Vector Tiles Pilot are interested in standardizing Vector Tiles across the following use cases:
- OGC Web Services (WFS and WMTS)
- Denied, Degraded, Intermittent, or Limited Bandwidth (DDIL) container format (GeoPackage)
- The extensions will serve as basis for National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) Profiles.
OGC has coordinated several initiatives to advance the use of Vector Tiles. Testbed 12 and Testbed 13 advanced ideas, found issues, and proposed change requests to existing standards. However, this pilot is looking to advance extensions for current OGC standards.
This Pilot will propose several normative draft standard(s) including: a conceptual abstract model for vector tiles that can be used across OGC standards, as well as extensions for WFS 3.0, WMTS 1.0 and GeoPackage 1.2. Servers and Clients will be developed to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed solution. The expected encoding of Vector Tiles include:
- Google Protocol Buffers (a.k.a., protobuf) as defined by Mapbox Vector Tiles