Interoperability Standards for Underground Infrastructure Data

Interoperability Standards for Underground Infrastructure Data

OGC to initiate Phase 1 Development of Interoperability Standards for Underground Infrastructure Data


7 February 2017: The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) is pleased to announce that the Fund for the City of New York and its sister organization, the National Center for Civic Innovation, has made a $25,000 grant to the OGC. These funds, along with contributions from Ordnance Survey Great Britain and other contributors, will enable OGC to initiate the first of a three-phase project to establish interoperability standards for underground infrastructure data. Over the past fourteen months the Fund, through its Center for Geospatial Innovation, has provided significant support for project conceptualization. The Fund will continue to provide assistance throughout the upcoming phases of this initiative.

Britain’s National Mapping Agency, Ordnance Survey, has contributed resources to this project and has been active in this area through its open innovation scheme, Geovation, to seek answers to how we can better manage underground assets.

Currently, the exchange of underground utility information between infrastructure organizations within the same jurisdiction or in adjacent jurisdictions has been greatly hampered by incompatible and incomplete data. OGC anticipates that this project will make a significant contribution towards facilitating improved information management, sharing and collaboration which should make infrastructure planning, operations and maintenance, and emergency response less costly and time consuming, and more effective.

The President of the Fund for the City of New York, Dr. Mary McCormick, said: “The development of underground infrastructure data interoperability standards will improve municipal operations throughout the U.S. and beyond. It will support smart city initiatives and make life better for all residents.”

The Director of the Fund’s Center of Geospatial Innovation, Alan Leidner, stated: “Ever since NYC struggled to piece together incompatible infrastructure data for the area beneath and surrounding the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attack, it has been clear that better infrastructure information quality and compatibility is necessary to support emergency operations.”

Mark Reichardt, President and Chief Operating Officer of OGC said: “OGC is delighted to be working with the Fund for the City of New York to apply standards-based interoperability approaches to improve the management and exchange of underground infrastructure information as part of a larger Smart / Resilient City information framework.”

Underground infrastructure networks play essential roles in supplying the resources necessary to make communities livable and functional. Each of these networks can be found alongside each other under city streets, and every building has multiple connections. Interdependencies between different underground networks make things even more complex. In addition to modelling the underground infrastructure, the project will look at ways to model the soil and related components that surround the underground infrastructure networks. These components can affect the ageing and maintenance schedules of infrastructure, and include bedrock, the water table, underground streams, adjacent water bodies, foundations, basements, sidewalks, sidewalk vaults, street beds, etc.

The OGC underground infrastructure project will be undertaken in parallel with efforts by the City of New York to assess its own infrastructure information and to find ways of improving integration, analysis, and emergency response while ensuring data security. It is expected that the projects will be mutually supportive.

The underground infrastructure data interoperability project will take two and a half years to complete and will involve the collaboration of many cities, utilities, and engineering and technology companies. Useful and useable insights and techniques will start to emerge during the first year of this initiative.

About the OGC

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 525 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at


02/07/2017 – Alan Leidner reports that the OGC RFI for phase 1 of the project will be issued early next week. A link to the RFI will be posted on the NYS GIS Association/GISMO websites as will subsequent news about the progress of this project. If you have any questions please email Al at

Geography 2050

2050_logoOnce again the American Geographical Society (AGS) is offering GISMO and NYSGISA members a significant discount to attend their 2016 Fall Symposium. This Conference is known for its terrific speakers, stimulating sessions and wonderful food. It is also a place to rub shoulders with national and international GIS leaders and celebrities in government and industry. This year’s AGS Fall Symposium, entitled “Geography 2050: Envisioning A Sustainable Planet, will take place on November 17th and 18th at Columbia University.

Special Discount: The rate for GISMO and NYSGISA government, academic and not-for-profit members is $190 instead of $300. The rate for retiree/student members is also $190 instead of $250. The rate for business members is $400 instead of $600.  There are limited slots, so please register for the Symposium as soon as you can.

– Select one of the three Registrant Types (based on your current status):

Symposium Only-Special: Business
Symposium Only-Special: Academic/Not-for-Profit/Government
Symposium Only-Special: Retiree/Student

GISMO-NYC/NYSGIS members can only register one (1) person per form.
Enter the number 1 next to the # symbol for the chosen registration category.

Special thanks to Dr. John Konarski, AGS’ Executive Director and GISMO member for making this offer possible.

Emerging GIS

gis_layersThe NYS GIS Association was awarded a $10,000 grant by The Fund for The City of New York to assess the GIS needs and resources for municipalities throughout NYS and identify potential strategies and solutions for the increased use of GIS. Although GIS is used extensively in many areas, there are still places in New York that do not use GIS or could use it more effectively.  GIS is a technology through which communities can use computerized maps to analyze and improve a municipality’s planning, asset management, emergency response, disaster services, humanitarian aid, and other vital public functions.

The “Emerging GIS Series: Emergency Response” video shows real-life examples on how important GIS is to local governments and fire departments for emergency response.  The video can be viewed on the NYS GIS Association’s YouTube channel at or on the NYS GIS Association’s Emerging GIS webpage at .