Standards are documented agreements that contain technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics, to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. The existence of nonharmonized standards for similar technologies in different countries or regions can contribute to technical barriers to trade. Export-minded industries have long sensed the need to agree on world standards to help streamline the international trading process. International Standards thus contribute to making life simpler, and to increasing the reliability and effectiveness of the goods and services we use.
For more information, see opengeospatial.org and iso.org.
Historically, geographic information has been handled in a variety of different data structures and architectures. Due to the nature of GIS, data sharing is extremely important in order to create a complete and correct solution to a geographic-based problem. Though authors of many proprietary off-the-shelf software systems have created conversion programs to convert from one software file type to another, this often compromises geographic data quality, thereby making the data incorrect, unusable or inaccessible.
Standards address the problem stemming from geographic data incompatibilities and proprietary file format transformation problems to create an open world of exchange.
Open interface specifications enable content providers, application developers and integrators to focus on delivering more capable products and services to consumers in less time, at less cost, and with more flexibility.
Geospatial standards define the basic semantics and structure of GI for data management and data interchange purposes, and define GI service components and their behavior for data processing purposes.