Author: Chris Higgins
Date: 24th Jan, 2008
Title: Report on GridNet2 activities liaising between the Geospatial and
The author of this report has been funded under GridNet2 since Dec 2005 to engage
in activity which develops synergies between the e-Science/Grid and Geographic
Information (GI) communities.
This document has two main objectives:
1. Report on these activities
2. Support a claim for expenses.
It complements a presentation given at the GridNet2 workshop held on Thurs 18th Oct
during the Open Grid Forum 21 (OGF21) meeting in Seattle. Copies of this
presentation are available from:
As described in the original proposal, this GridNet2 funded activity concentrated on
developing links and liaising between the two main Standards Defining Organisations
active in defining open interoperability standards in the Grid and Geospatial
1. Open Grid Forum (OGF). The OGF (http://www.ogf.org/) was formed in 2006
from the merger of the Global Grid Forum and the Enterprise Grid Alliance. It is
a community initiated forum of individuals, industry and research, representing
over 400 organisations, working on distributed computing, or “grid” technologies.
2. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). The OGC (http://www.opengeospatial.org/)
is an international industry consortium established in 1994. It consists of
approximately 300 companies, government agencies and universities participating
in a consensus process to develop publicly available interface specifications.
OGC specifications support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web,
wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT.
Grid enabled Spatial Data Infrastructure
A key concept necessary for understanding the context of much of this liaison work is
that of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). In recent years, SDI has become a
principal driver in the development of Geographic Information (GI) standards and can
assist in understanding where the GI and Grid communities intersect. The definition
used by the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) directive
(entered into force May 2007) is:
“SDI encompasses the policies, organisational remits, data, technologies, standard
delivery mechanism and financial and human resources necessary to ensure that
those working with spatial data, whether at the global or local scale, are not impeded
in meeting their objectives (INSPIRE consultation paper, 2003)”
Significant resources are being channelled into SDI development at the global,
regional (European) and national level. Major challenges include; interoperability,
security and scaleability, noting that many geospatial operations are characterised by
being computationally intensive. It has become apparent throughout the duration of
this initiative that the Grid community can make highly useful contributions in all of
1. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Technical
Committee meeting, Edinburgh, June 2006
EDINA has been a member of the OGC since 2000 and, as stated in the original
proposal, used GridNet2 resources to part sponsor an OGC Technical Committee
meeting (http://edina.ac.uk/ogcconference/) at the University of Edinburgh during
This meeting had several ramifications for the UK academic sector and wider
members of the geospatial community, but in terms of the stated GridNet2 objectives,
the following were probably the most significant outcomes:
• A Grid GIS ad hoc meeting (also open to non OGC members) was organised for
the afternoon of the 28th June with the following speakers covering the following
o Malcolm Atkinson (National e-Science Centre) on GGF, OGSA, European
Grid activities, NeSC
o Pier Giorgio Marchetti (European Space Agency). The Grid model in the
ESA Ground Segment: status and perspectives.
o Andrew Woolf (NERC Data Grid) - Wrappers, portlets, resource-
orientation and OGC in earth system grids
o Neil Chue-Hong (National e-Science Centre) - Mapping OGC standards to
OGSA-DAI: approaches and issues
• A lunch meeting was organised between senior members of both communities to
establish grounds for a working relationship.
• The GridNet2 logo was prominently displayed as an event sponsor throughout the
The report from this meeting, presented at the Technical Committee meeting plenary
, can be downloaded from: http://edina.ac.uk/ogcconference/gridgis.html
2. OGF18, Washington, Sept 2006
This was the first Grid standards defining organisation the author had attended and the
first meeting of the OGF; formed from the merging of the Enterprise Grid Alliance
and the Global Grid Forum. The author attended this meeting with the intention of
familiarising himself with the structure of the OGF, familiarisation with the full
spectrum of Grid activities and to conduct in networking. I met with key individuals
in the Grid community, discussed the OGF position in respect of geospatial
information and laid much of the foundation for the OGC OGF workshop at OGF22.
I attended a large number of sessions, in particular:
• Several session focussing on security
• Earth Observation and Ground systems in distributed environments. This
session confirmed that the Grid community, in respect of geospatial
information, had focussed most of its attention to date on remote sensed data.
This is unsurprising as the volumes of data generated are substantial and
processing consequently computationally intensive. This session also
confirmed that there already was awareness of the work of the OGC and that
there no formal liaison to date. Importantly though, there was an appetite for
establishing a formal link.
Key Grid contacts were made at this meeting. It was interesting to contrast the
operation of the OGF with the OGC. The OGF came across as a larger organisation
with a wider spread of members, including many very big players. The gathering was
larger but less focussed than within OGC. Characterised by larger academic sector
involvement than OGC and much of the work discussed appeared to be closer to the
research rather than the production end of the spectrum.
3. OGF20, Manchester, May 2007
A OGF OGC workshop was held on the afternoon of the 7th May.
The stated purpose of this workshop was to “…plan concrete collaboration between
the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the Open Grid Forum (OGF) to identify
and produce standard, grid-enabled geospatial information tools in the context of a
service-oriented architecture. There will be presentations from key stakeholders and
potential adopters followed by a panel session to get rough consensus on specific
activities, such as harmonizing the OGC Reference Model with emerging web
services. A Memorandum of Understanding between OGC and OGF will also be
The event had three components. The first section attempted to communicate to the
Grid community the breadth, applicability, maturity and uptake of the open geospatial
interoperability standards, noting that the latter included standards from ISO TC/211
as well OGC (these two organisations liaise very closely).
• Introduction. Craig Lee, OGF Area Director, The Aerospace Corporation
• OGC/ISO TC211 Standards Landscape, David Arctur, OGC Interoperability
• GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems), Jeremy Morley,
University College London
• United Nations Spatial Data Infrastructure (UNSDI), Kristin Stock, University
of Nottingham, Social Change Online
The second section concentrated on projects that were demonstrably bridging
geospatial and grid standards communities:
• Grid OGC Collision programme:
o SEE-GEO project, Chris Higgins, EDINA, Edinburgh University
o SAW-GEO project, Gobe Hobona, University of Newcastle
• Activities at George Mason University, Liping Di, George Mason University
• Cyclops/EGEE, Stefano Nativi, Italian National Research Council (CNR),
Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (IMAA)
The workshop concluded with a panel discussion (see Appendix A for a report
authored by the workshop chair Craig Lee)
4. OGF21, Seattle, Oct 2007
Apart from attending the wide variety of sessions covering a variety of subjects and
further networking, the two main reasons for attending this event were:
1. To present at the GridNet2 session http://wiki.cs.cf.ac.uk/twiki/bin/view/Sandbox/
2. Participation at the OGC OGF workshop, which the author assisted in setting up.
Indication of Future Expenditure
OGF22, Cambridge, MA, Feb 2008
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations the
OGF was invited to nominate four individuals representative of OGF members to act
as liaison points with the OGC. The author was nominated as the UK e-Science
representative and agreed to assist in setting up and participate in the forthcoming
OGC OGF workshop on the of 26th Feb at OGF22 in Cambridge Massachusetts. Two
members of staff will attend OGF22 (Chris Higgins and Michael Koutroumpas) to:
• Participate in the OGC-OGF workshop
• Engage in detailed technical discussion with a view to collaboration with
known attendees at the workshop
• Prepare for future activities to carry the work forward, from a
o OGF perspective
o OGC perspective
o UK e-Science perspective
• Attend a wide variety of other workshops/meetings on a variety of Grid related
topics at OGF22
From attendance at previous OGF events in the US, it is estimated that this will cost
approximately £2000 per person, ie, a total of £4000.00
Appendix A. First OGC-OGF Workshop Report
OGC-OGF Collaboration Workshop
OGF-20, May 7, 2007
Chris Higgins, EDINA
Craig Lee, Aerospace
This workshop was convened as a mechanism to explore in a public venue (OGF-20)
all issues surrounding the intersection of geospatial data processing requirements and
grid computing. Geospatial data processing involves all manner of maps and map-
related data. It can also be generalized to all manner of three dimensional data. The
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has already developed a number of widely
adopted tools in this area, e.g., the Web Map Server, the Web Feature Server, the
Catalogue Service for Web, etc., for the cataloguing and serving of such data in a
distributed, web-based environment. The driving motivation for organizing this
workshop was the perceived need to integrate distributed resource management
(grids) for expanded support of geospatial data processing.
The workshop had the following agenda:
Craig Lee, OGF Area Director, The Aerospace Corporation
1410-1435: OGC/ISO TC211 Standards Landscape
David Arctur, OGC Interoperability Institute
Jeremy Morley, University College London
Kristin Stock, University of Nottingham, Social Change Online
1545-1610: Grid OGC Collision
Chris Higgins, EDINA, Edinburgh University Data Library
1610-1635: Activities at George Mason University
Liping Di, George Mason University
Stefano Nativi, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Institute of
Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (IMAA)
1700-1730: Panel and Discussion
While the panel and open-floor discussion was officially scheduled for only 1/2 hour,
it ran through the break period until 1800 when the next scheduled group arrived to
use the room. During the presentations, question-and-answer periods, and the open-
floor discussion, the following topics were raised (in no particular order and with no
• What does "grid-enabling" OGC tools (WCS, WMS, WCS, ...) mean?
o There is a need to "migrate data”
o This could mean secure data transfer, third-party data trans
• There is a need for "real-time data processing”
o Distributed resource mgmt, scheduling, workflow mgmt
o How does this relate to the WPS?
• How well does SAW-GEO meet most needs?
o How well does GT4 serve SAW-GEO’s needs?
• What does SAW-GEO need for wider examination, adoption?
o Dynamic service provisioning
• Which groups in the two organizations might benefit from collaboration?
o OGC: Digital Rights Management, Info Comm & Semantics groups?
o OGF: Semantic Grid, Workflow Research Groups?
• Geospatial Interoperability
o Data semantics, geo-service semantics, ontologies
o How does this drive geo-workflow capabilities?
• Geospatial reasoning
o General-purpose inference engines, planning agents?
• Web 2.0 vs. traditional grid tools
o When would it be appropriate for geospatial community?
• Geo data virtualization
o “Recipes” for deriving data products from raw data
o Support for file/data replicas
• HPC for geospatial data
• Start new Geospatial Community Group (CG) in OGF
o This group would be the point of coordination for further specific
collaborative activities between OGC and OGF, e.g., interoperability
testing of OGC tools and data sets across grid infrastructures
• Major issues:
o Handling massive data
o Need organizations that can provide compute resources that can
support the vast interoperability requirements (e.g., Teragrid, NaReGI,
o Develop joint interoperability specifications for geospatial processing
services, workflow, and security
• Initial CG Deliverables:
o An OGF Informational document defining more specific collaboration
efforts and opportunities