I blogged previously about the OGC GeoPackage specification being available for public comment. Chris Holmes of OpenGeo, who has been a major contributor to the open source geospatial community since joining the GeoServer team as lead developer in 2002, has posted an illuminating blog post about his experience in working with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards specification process on the GeoPackage specification.
Back in February Chris was unhappy with the GeopPackage specification as it then was. So much so that he decided to join the GeoPackage Standards Working Group (SWG), "participating in weekly (and then twice a week) calls, and trying to work with the OGC workflow of wikis and massive Word documents." One of his goals was to learn about how the OGC process actually works and be able to "offer some suggestions for improvement from my open source software experience."
This is very important from an OGC perspective for two reasons. First of all, open source geospatial is an important and growing segment of the geospatial software community, and secondly "open source loves standards" so that historically often the first implementations of a standard and the first adopters have come from the open source community.
In his blog post Chris reported that the OGC staff has been "great" about being open to new ways of working. In particular he was very excited that the SWG had achieved an OGC first by putting the GeoPackage specification out on GitHub, which is expected to make it much more accessible to the open source community than if it had been made available in the traditional OGC way (wikis and Word docs).
Secondly he is happy with the specification that the OGC standards process has generated. In his own words he believes that the specification is ‘pretty good’ as it is right now, but that he expects that the GeoPackage specification will improve as a result of real implementations. He says he would like to see three full implementations before the GeoPackage V 1.0 standard is fully adopted by the OGC.
For the OGC putting the specification on GitHub is an experiment, so Chris has asked the community, especially the open source folks familiar with working with GitHub, to become involved in helping to improve the specification. For folks without GitHub experience the SWG has written some tips on how to contribute to the GeoPackage specification without having to learn git.
In summary this, because it comes from an open source geopatial perspective, sounds very positive. I think it bodes well for more direct involvement of the open source geospatial community in OGC standards specification processes in the future. This would be a win-win for the OGC and the open source geospatial community.