To the Moderator of the .geo
Thread of the Public Comment on TLDs
I am Cliff Kottman, Vice President and Chief
Scientist of the Open GIS Consortium (OGC). I raised the issue of OGC endorsement
of the .geo TLD at the OGC Planning Committee meeting on October 5, 2000. This
is the policy formation committee for the Consortium. OGC had received two
briefings from SRI: one in December 1999, and one on October 2, 2000.
of the group was that there was insufficient time and information to consider and
analyze the impact and implications, both technical and institutional, of the .geo
proposal. The committee requests more time to consider, prototype, and test
the proposed .geo approach.
On the institutional side, there are many on-going
activities, initiatives, directives, and deeply interested parties in the issues
surrounding .geo besides OGC. They include:
EU Fifth Framework
Federal Geographic Data Committee
Global Disaster Information
Global Spatial Data Infrastructure
Information Technology in the 21st
National Spatial Data Infrastructure
Many others could be added to this list.
For example, there are numerous industry forums addressing the provision of geospatial
information to hand-held devices, including IETF Spatial, WAP Mobile Management Forum,
OpenLS, LIF, MWIP, and MAGIC.
These institutions have not had the opportunity
to formulate a community position. I feel that, with respect to the profound
institutional issues at play, ICANN should proceed with great caution.
On the technical
side, it is understood that the central technical thrust of .geo is to add another
search (or “discovery” or “mining”) mechanism that is based on coordinates.
Existing searches often require use of reserved vocabularies that often have a taxonomic
structure. The .geo approach leaves many technical questions unanswered:
does .geo affect Metadata (and document 19115 in ISO TC211)?
How does .geo interface
with other standards and emerging standards? For example: catalogs, coordinate
systems, gazetteers, portrayal and style sheets, map servers, feature servers, and
How does one publish the existence of geospatial information
What geospatial formats are recognized?
What are the impacts on the
traditional “taxonomic” reserved vocabularies that are currently used to assist information
There are additional questions about how .geo will work with files
whose “footprint” is not well matched with the .geo rectangles. How will .geo
preserve feature-to-feature relations across “tile” or regional data-set boundaries?
How will .geo serve the mobile user? What will be the impact on organizations
that currently organize their commercial information by tiles, but by different tiles
than those used by .geo?
The Open GIS Consortium is a natural environment
to resolve these issues. SRI is a member of OGC but has not requested that
a Special Interest Group (SIG) be established within OGC to address these issues.
I encourage SRI and the institutions that are partnered with it in the .geo
initiative to charter such a SIG and use it to reach the broader GIS community.
The SIG could formulate technical approaches and broad institutional policy in response
to the questions raised above. I further encourage SRI and its partners and
sponsors to help design, sponsor, and participate in an OGC Interoperability Initiative
or Testbed that would bring interested and affected parties together and work out
the technical challenges mentioned above.
Thank you for the opportunity
to comment on the .geo proposal