OGC has approved the Discrete Global Grid System (DGGS)

10-25-2017 01:39 AM
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Announced via Press Release on the 24th October 2017.

OGC announces a new standard that improves the way information is referenced to the earth | OGC 

Release Date: 
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 UTC

The membership of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) has approved the Discrete Global Grid System (DGGS) as OGC Abstract Specification - Topic 21 [OGC 15-104r5].

The goal of DGGS is to enable rapid assembly of spatial data without the difficulties of working with projected coordinate reference systems. The OGC DGGS Abstract Specification standard defines the conceptual model and a set of rules for building highly efficient architectures for spatial data storage, integration and analytics.

“DGGS will provide the capability to properly integrate global geospatial, social, and economic information. It also allows communities with data attributed to fundamentally different geographies to integrate this information in a single consistent framework,” said Dr Stuart Minchin, Chief, Environmental Geoscience Division at Geoscience Australia.

“DGGS will revolutionise the way we perceive, work with, and visualise spatial information,” said Dr. Matthew Purss, Senior Advisor at Geoscience Australia, co-chair of the OGC DGGS Standards and Domain Working Groups, and Editor of the OGC DGGS Abstract Specification – Topic 21 [OGC 15-104r5]. “DGGS are a technology that allow the harmonisation of raster, vector, and point cloud data in a common, globally consistent framework – enabling the spatial industry to overcome some key challenges presented by traditional GIS approaches; namely, the ‘raster-vector divide’, as well as the use of map projections.”

DGGSs represent the Earth as hierarchical sequences of equal area tessellations on the surface of the Earth, each with global coverage and with progressively finer spatial resolution. Individual observations can be assigned to a cell corresponding to both the position and size of the phenomenon being observed. DGGS come with a standard set of functional algorithms that enable rapid data analysis of very large numbers of cells and, by their very nature, are well suited to parallel processing applications at multiple spatial resolutions.

“It is timely for DGGS to become the de facto standard grid referencing system globally for geographic Big Data,” said Dr Zoheir Sabeur, Science Director at University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre, United Kingdom, and co-chair of the OGC DGGS Standards and Domain Working Groups. “DGGS will fit extremely well in the stack of big data necessary for intelligent processing levels that will enable fast and accurate exploration, mining, and visualization of Big Data.”

“We have reached a tipping point in our ability to make effective use of Big Data to derive economic and societal value,” added Dr. Purss. “DGGS represents the paradigm shift that will allow us to overcome some of the critical barriers preventing us from realising the true potential that Big Data promises to deliver.”

There is explosive growth in both the variety and the volume of spatial data and processing resources, along with a growing understanding of the tremendous benefit that can be derived from enabling interoperability between them. On the other side of this deluge of spatial content is a growing demand by decision-makers for a participatory environment where content can be accessed directly from diverse contributors and used with other content without reliance on time-consuming and costly geographic transformation processes.

“Decision-makers who require situational awareness exist across all sectors of the economy: public health, agriculture, natural resources, land development, emergency response, supply chains, transportation, outdoor recreation, etc,” said Perry Peterson co-chair of the OGC DGGS Standards Group and founder of PYXIS. “Most of us in fact, from scientists to citizens, regularly seek answers to spatial questions. However, assembling the array of spatial data available in a way it can make sense is presently an expensive challenge requiring an expert. DGGS offers a solution.”

One of the core contributions of a DGGS is geospatial data fusion on demand. In a multiple provider environment, fusion is only possible with an information system architecture based upon open standards. The OGC DGGS Abstract Specification provides a platform to enable interoperability within and between different DGGS implementations while promoting reusability, knowledge exchange, and choices in the design of individual DGGS implementations.

As with any OGC standard, the open DGGS Abstract Specification is free to implement. Interested parties can view and download the standard from http://docs.opengeospatial.org/as/15-104r5/15-104r5.html.

Read the press release here:

OGC announces a new standard that improves the way information is referenced to the earth | OGC 

4 Replies
MVP Frequent Contributor

Thanks for posting this Simon.

Very interesting. As one of those "experts" in projections, datums and all that... , will this OGC standard now take over the world?

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New Contributor II

DGGS is not a panacea but it is an important contribution toward a better world.  Michael Goodchild likened the DGGS abstract specification to other major spatial standards when he said, "I'm very much in favour of this effort; I've often argued for something along these lines, I think it's relevant to the hypothetical question, 'What if we organized another Meridian Convention, what would have a similar enabling impact to the adoption of the Greenwich Meridian?'"  

Esri Notable Contributor

A colleague pointed out that it's an abstract specification, not an implementation specification or standard. So everyone's still free to interpret and implement it however they like!

MVP Frequent Contributor

The goal of DGGS is to enable rapid assembly of spatial data without the difficulties of working with projected coordinate reference systems.

It does sound at first like it is almost too good to be true.  Does this mean we can get lazy and forget about pcs? 

It will be interesting to see the specific implementation/standard of this and how it pans out.

Chris Donohue, GISP