Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which standards are of interest to ESRI?
  2. What is the Open GIS Consortium?
  3. Which OGC specifications are implemented by ESRI software?
  4. What are OGC Web Map Services?
  5. What are OGC Web Feature Services?
  6. Can I download these connectors?
  7. What is LBS?
  8. What is OpenLS?
  9. What technologies does ESRI use for implementing LBS?
  10. Does ESRI support GML?

1. Which standards are of interest to ESRI?

ESRI is interested in all standards that will help our users be successful in their day-to-day operations. ESRI has a large team of people involved in each of the phases of developing open standards including creating standards, reviewing standards, and integrating standards into our products. ESRI also works with a number of standards organizations and directly participates in the creation, review, and introduction of industry standards.

ESRI participates in standards organizations at all levels: national, international, regional, and industry specific. For example, ESRI's products meet U.S. military and NATO standards, U.S. government standards such as the Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS), Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Content Standard for Geospatial Metadata, and international standards such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) metadata standard. In addition, ESRI employs Internet standards, such as XML, SOAP, and UDDI, throughout our products and solutions.

View a complete list of standards organizations ESRI participates in.

2. What is the Open GIS Consortium?

The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OCG), is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agencies, and universities aimed at growing interoperability for technologies involving spatial information and location. The OGC mission is to deliver spatial interface specifications that are openly available for global use. Open interfaces and protocols defined by OpenGIS specifications support interoperable solutions that "geo-enable" the Web, wireless and location-based services (LBS), and mainstream information technology.

ESRI is a principal member of the Open GIS Consortium. Principal membership means that ESRI participates and votes in both the OGC Technical Committee and the OGC Planning Committee.

3. Which OGC specifications are implemented by ESRI software?

ESRI participates in a majority of the OGC Interoperability Program Initiatives involved in specification development. As the specifications are in development, ESRI develops prototype implementations in a test bed environment. Once the specifications have matured, ESRI implements the OGC specifications that will provide the most benefit to users in its core software products.

To date, ESRI has implemented the OGC Simple Feature Access Specification (in ArcSDE and ArcGIS), the OGC Catalog Service Specification (in ArcIMS and the Metadata Explorer), the OGC Web Mapping Specification (in ArcIMS and ArcExplorer), the OGC Web Feature Specification (in ArcIMS and ArcExplorer), and a suite of Open Location Services (OpenLS) Specifications (in ArcLocation Services) to provide solutions for location-based services.

4. What are OGC Web Map Services?

ESRI uses an OGC Web Map Service (WMS) Connector, which enables ArcIMS to provide Web map services that adhere to the OpenGIS Web Map Service Implementation Specification.

The OGC WMS Connector:

  • Produces maps of georeferenced data
  • Renders maps in an image format such as PNG, GIF, or JPEG
  • Creates a standard means for users to request maps on the Web
  • Creates a standard means for servers to describe data holdings

5. What are OGC Web Feature Services?

ESRI uses an OGC Web Feature Service (WFS) Connector, which enables ArcIMS to provide Web feature services that adhere to the OpenGIS Web Feature Service Implementation Specification.

The OGC WFS Connector:

  • Provides access to geographic feature (vector) data
  • Supports query requests
  • mplements interfaces for data manipulation operations on Geographic Markup Language (GML) features served from data stores that are accessible via the Internet

6. Can I download these connectors?

The WMS and WFS connectors are available to download from the ESRI Interoperability Technology Download Center.

7. What is LBS?

Location-based services are location application services that integrate spatial data and processing resources into telecommunications and wireless Internet services infrastructure. Location services are bringing huge benefits to emergency response, public safety, public transportation, critical infrastructure protection, and disaster management. For more information, visit www.esri.com/arclocationservices.

8. What is OpenLS?

OpenLS or Open Location Services is an OGC initiative intended to produce open specifications for interoperable location application services that will integrate spatial data and processing resources into telecommunications and Internet services infrastructure. OpenLS consists of a series of rapid-paced, collaborative engineering test beds and pilots that yield robust, end-to-end, multivendor location service solutions.

According to the OpenLS specification, OGC's open architecture for location services will be based on interfaces and protocols that support core services including

  • Gateway services that integrate OpenLS location application services with position determination equipment in the MPC/GMLC (the place in the network that manages the location of devices)
  • Directory services for searching Yellow Pages, green pages, travel guides, and so forth
  • Route determination services for navigation
  • Geocode (address to x,y) and reverse geocode (x,y to address) services
  • Map/Feature display services

9. What technologies does ESRI use for implementing LBS?

ESRI is actively working on LBS test beds that conform to the OpenLS specifications set out by OGC. The primary products used for implementing LBS are ArcIMS and ArcWeb Services. ESRI uses the following standard technologies in these implementations: Java 2 Platform Standard Edition (J2SE), Java 2 Platform Micro Edition (J2ME), and XML.

10. Does ESRI support GML?

Yes. Geography Markup Language is an OpenGIS Implementation Specification designed to transport and store geographic information. It is a profile (encoding) of XML (Extensible Markup Language). OGC Web Feature Services (WFS) for ArcIMS currently implement interfaces for data manipulation operations on GML features served on data stores that are accessible via the Internet. ESRI has created an Interoperability extension for ArcExplorer--Java Edition 4.0.1 to access OGC Web feature services as well as read GML files directly. ESRI is also building prototype ArcGIS implementations that utilize GML for accessing geographic features.