Where Would We Be Without Standards?

Anticipating an extra slow Friday for a number of reasons this might be a good time to get this off my chest. A sure way to bring down my “unique visitors” daily number is to include the word “standards” in the title, so if you got this far I am preaching to the choir, but here goes.

Why does the geospatial and for that matter the entire AEC and GIS ecosystems not see the value in standards, especially as they apply to data? Can you imagine the world that we live in without standards? For instance electrical power, telecommunications, transportation, entertainment. Now within those industries we can all cite examples of components that are not standard. What do we think of those?

The OGC has made some great strides on the issue of standards for geospatial data, but the vendors could be doing a lot more to be proactive on this front. Is the lesson not clear? Standards produce more business. Proprietary formats restrict the natural economic forces in the marketplace. It’s been at least 30 years since the PC opened up computing to the masses.

When will we do the same with data?

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3 Responses to Where Would We Be Without Standards?

  1. The standards themselves are not the issue for me. It’s the pain and sweat that goes into developing them that likely turns off most people. Is there a benefit? Sure there is, but taking that initial step comes at a price and it requires a lot of people to be aligned in their thinking.

    In my own experience, the International Association of Forensic and Security Metrology (IAFSM) is working on a Best Practices document that requires a lot of input from many different users. The process is slow and at times causes much frustration. However, it’s all for the better.

  2. Gene, I could not agree more. While you are at the ESRI UC 3D and LiDAR mapping forum maybe you could inquire whether there are plans for releasing the specification details of ESRI’s new LAS Dataset (*.lasd) format – a seemingly simple container and overview format for grouping a set of LAS files into one logical unit. It would then have the potential to become a standard for specifying a LiDAR project providing the overview which set of LAS files a project is composed of.

  3. Leslie Boyer says:

    Gene, as a service provider for laser scanning and modelling in the AEC market, I have seen contract specifications for services wrapped up in one paragraph that requested nothing more than getting it done. No purpose. No limits. No expectations other than to get it done.
    I partnered with a senior member of the Construction Specifications Canada and together we wrote a specification: Section 01 71 26: Point Cloud Surveying.
    In this we covered the requirement of having a current calibration certificate, the importance of pre-planning, verifying field scanning with repeatability, variability and referencing tests within a stated mean deviation, and providing post processing services including accurate registration of scans and Level of Detail for modelling.
    The specification is too large to copy here, so those interested may email and request a copy. I will try to get it posted on my website this week.

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