Skip to Main Content
Communities that want to share information often do not know enough about the available standards or how to choose the best one. One is example is marine communities that want to share observation data. Even selecting a standards body, such as the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), is not enough. For example, OGC has more than one standard that could potentially be used to publish time series data: sensor observation service (SOS), Web feature service (WFS) and Web coverage service (WCS). To better assess these standards requires testing and evaluation in end-to-end demonstrations. An end-to end prototype spans from publishing sensor deployment information to visualizing in a Web client data from a remote Web service. OOSTethys is a community initiative that has been advancing standardized components in end-to-end prototypes for marine observations. OOSTethys participants initiated an OGC Ocean Science Interoperability Experiment (Oceans IE) in 2007, to advance the interoperability of ocean observing systems by using OGC standards. The Oceans IE Phase I investigated the use of WFS and SOS for representing and exchanging point data records from fixed in-situ marine platforms. The study found that 1) SOS contains the necessary components to represent observations, not only from sensors, but also from sensor systems; 2) communities that adopt SOS instead of WFS will not be required to create and maintain their own specifications, which specify the rules of encoding, such as XML schemas; and, 3) the SOS model and weak typing approach provides a sufficient balance to allow general structure and community semantics to co-exist; however, this requires an effort in creating and maintaining controlled vocabularies by marine communities. The result is not only relevant to the marine community but to any community that is sharing geo-spatial observations.