OGC Progressing with Function-Rich Big Data Standards

August 20, 2013. Yesterday voting on the new OGC standard for Coordinate System handling of spatio-temporal data sets has finished with all YES votes. This extends the OGC Web Coverage Service (WCS) suite, together with several further specifications submitted earlier which are disclosed for public commenting. Together, this makes WCS Swiss Army Knife for big and small coverage data, such as sensor data, raster images, timeseries, point clouds, and meshes.

Among the supporters of the new "OGC WCS Extension - CRS" with OGC document number 11-053 are US NOAA and USGS, German AdV, French BRGM and METEO-FRANCE, Australian CSIRO, the European Union Stellite Centre, Oracle, and EADS. "This new standard closes an important gap, as for the first time it allows to treat spatial and temporal coordinates alike" explains Peter Baumann from Jacobs University, the editor of the specification, and details "this will tremendously ease access to and analysis of satellite image timeseries and weather data, for example".

Prior to voting on the adoption of a standard, as with WCS CRS, OGC mandates a public Request for Comment period where the candidate standard is made available to the public and comments are sought. The document editors duly consider all comments, and the revised version goes into voting.

In case of WCS, several further specifications are in this pipeline: WCS Range Subsetting, which allows to extract channels from hyperspectral images or multi-variable climate data sets; WCS Processing, which establishes a bridget between the simple data access protocol of WCS and the advanced filtering and processing query language of the Web Coverage Processing Service (WCPS); WCS Scaling, which allows clients to get downscaled data sets with reduced resolution, such as for Web browser display and thumbnails; WCS Interpolation, which gives clients fine-grain control over any interpolation the server performs during its processing.

A RESTful protocol binding for WCS is in progress by the OGC WCS Standards Working Group and will likely be rolled out soon as well.

"The team has worked hard over the last few years, and now we are reaping the benefits - WCS is the most powerful, comprehensive Big Earth Data service suite available" says Peter Baumann. "Not the least because we have harmonized it across OGC, so that coverages can be exchanged freely between WFS, WCS, WCPS, WPS, and SOS."