Founded in 1994, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international voluntary consensus standards organization. In the OGC, more than 370+ commercial, governmental, nonprofit and research organizations worldwide collaborate in an open consensus process encouraging development and implementation of standards for geospatial content and services, GIS data processing and data sharing.
Prior to 2004, the organization was known as Open GIS Consortium.
A detailed history of the OGC is available.
Most of the OGC standards are based on a generalized architecture captured in a set of documents collectively called the Abstract Specification, which describes a basic data model for geographic features to be represented. Atop the Abstract Specification is a growing number of specifications, or standards, that have been (or are being) developed to serve specific needs for interoperable location and geospatial technology, including GIS.
The are currently 28 standards in the OGC standards baseline, including:
These were originally designed around the HTTP web services paradigm for message-based interactions in web-based systems. However, in the last year the members have been working on defining a common approach for SOAP protocol and WSDL bindings. There has also been considerable work and progress in defining Representational State Transfer web services..
The following diagram depicts the current organizational structure of the OGC.
The OGC is divided into three operational units: The Specification program, the Interoperability Program, and Outreach and Community Adoption.
The OGC has a close relationship with ISO/TC 211 (Geographic Information/Geomatics). The OGC abstract specification is being progressively replaced by volumes from the ISO 19100 series under development by this committee. Further, the OGC standards Web Map Service, GML and Simple Features Access are ISO standards.