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OGC Issues Critical Infrastructure “Call for Communities”

On May 22, 2002, the Open GIS Consortium (OGC) issued a Call for Communities (CFC) to express interest in participating in future OGC interoperability initiatives. The Call also invites communities to respond to a policy initiative survey. Both activities are designed to improve sharing of geographic information in support of Critical Infrastructure Protection and National Spatial Data Infrastructure. The CFC invites local to national government agencies (in Canada, the US and other countries); non-governmental organizations; academic groups; and private sector companies who use, own, operate, develop, study or equip infrastructure systems to register their interest in participating in interoperability initiatives designed to test the effectiveness of Web-based software products implementing interoperability interfaces that make it easier to find, share and use geographic information.

Participating organizations have the potential to gain, in many cases at little or no cost, technical help and training, technology “leave-behinds”, and a valuable network of relationships with data sharing partners and commercial technology providers. Coordinating Organizations’ suggestions will influence further standards development in OGC. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI), to commence in the near future, offers a potential venue for community engagement in the OGC process. The CFC also invites communities to work with the Spatial Technologies Industry Association (STIA) to promote public policy to make geospatial capabilities a higher priority in Homeland Security programs.

Infrastructure, including telecommunications, transportation, energy, banking and finance, water supply, emergency services, health services, and government services, is termed “critical infrastructure” if failure or destruction of some infrastructure element can cause major economic and social harm. Because infrastructure systems are made up of geographically located physical assets and people, organizations that cooperate to protect critical infrastructure must be able to share information that captures the “where” and “when” of infrastructure elements.

Organizations interested in becoming involved in CIPI-1 can find more information at https://ip.opengis.org/cfc and can respond to the CFC by completing forms located there. Initial responses are requested by June 21, 2002.