Two years ago several members of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) including MapInfo, Autodesk, Intergraph, and Laser-scan began an interoperability initiative that was designed to make it possible for a standards-compliant application to display a map from any standards-compliant datastore. The initial objectives were standards for oriented points and cartographic text. Cartographic text turned out to be a bit contentious because it conflicted with a traditional perspective that stylization information did not belong in the database with geospatial data.
I am happy to report that the Open Geospatial Consortium OGC membership is revising the simple features (SF) specification and a key discussion item is how to best handle cartographic text. This will have important implications for RDBMS vendors like Oracle that support spatial data as well as for geospatial vendors that consume spatial data. I am optimistic that we will see the OGC discussion result in a modified SF that will include cartographic text and that we will see support for the revised SF specification in future product releases from Oracle, MapInfo, Autodesk, Intergraph, Laser-scan, Bentley, and others.