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The GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot Enters Phase 3

By George S. Percivall, Chief Architect and Executive Director, Interoperability Program, Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC)

On 29 January 2010, the GEO Secretariat announced a Call for Participation (CFP) in the GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot, Phase 3 (AIP-3). The CFP was developed by GEO Task AR-09-01B, which is overseen by the GEO Architecture and Data Committee. The GEO community is invited to respond to the CFP by 3 March.

As a GEO Task, the AIP develops and pilots the process and infrastructure components for the GEOSS Common Infrastructure and the broader GEOSS architecture. The main aims of the AIP are to foster consensus on GEOSS interoperability arrangements and best practices, to register operational components and services that carry forward into persistent operations of GEOSS, and to apply the architecture and services to meeting the needs of several GEOSS Societal Benefit Areas (SBAs).

The AIP employs a development process for the “co-evolution” of the system-of-systems architecture, the contributed systems, and the stakeholders. Stakeholder needs are reassessed with each iteration of the architecture; the architecture is used to guide each phase as it moves through development; and versions of the AIP are used to evaluate each system on delivery. AIP-3 builds upon the architecture, services and SBA scenarios developed and demonstrated in AIP-2 and AIP-1.

Each phase of the AIP begins with a call for GEO Members and Participating Organizations to participate by:

  • Registering components and services;
  • Testing services and documenting results in Engineering Reports; and
  • Participating in the refinement of Societal Benefit Area scenarios to guide testing, demonstration and operation of the identified interoperable services.

Each phase is motivated by SBA scenarios that describe how GEOSS will support SBA Communities of Practice. From these scenarios, AIP Participants extract engineering Use Cases that document reusable approaches for implementing the scenarios. The Use Cases provide a useful way to package technical interoperability requirements that are met through standards and best practices.

Specific areas of emphasis for AIP-3 include increasing the capacity for GEOSS to support Societal Benefit Areas; building on the AIP Service Architecture and the GEOSS Common Infrastructure; and increasing availability of data in GEOSS in accordance with the GEOSS Data Sharing Guidelines. AIP-3 will be conducted in 2010 and will result in demonstrations and other deliverables to support the Earth Observation Summit in November 2010.

CFP responses are requested by 3 March 2010. Organizations responding to the CFP should plan to attend the kickoff workshop to begin development of AIP-3 to be held 11-12 March 2010 at the European Space Agency facility in Frascati, Italy. The CFP documents are available at

The agenda and logistical details for the pre-kickoff teleconferences are posted at The point of contact for the AIP task is George Percivall at

The OGC® is the GEOSS Participating Organization that is leading the AIP. OGC is an inclusive, international, not-for-profit consortium of more than 385 companies, government agencies, research organizations and universities. Its main function is to manage a consensus process in which OGC members develop publicly available geospatial service interface and encoding standards. OGC’s Interoperability Program is a series of hands-on engineering initiatives to accelerate the development and acceptance of OpenGIS Specifications. Thus the OGC’s staff and members have experience in managing the kind of consensus process necessary for the AIP. The AIP requirements and lessons learned feed into the OGC’s standards development process, so there is a compounding of benefits in the relationship between GEO and the OGC.