There are several organizations that seek to create and enforce standards in geographic information. ERDAS APOLLO is based on ISO and OGC standards, as these organizations are world-wide and have been accepted as global standards by a variety of governing bodies and businesses. Both of these organizations rely on a committee of top experts in the GI industry and use an iterative process to enhance the manner in which geographic information is used across several vertical markets.
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)
The OGC is an international industry consortium of more than 230 companies, government agencies, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geoprocessing specifications. Open interfaces and protocols defined by OGC specifications support interoperable solutions that geo-enable the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT, and empower software developers to make complex spatial information and services compatible with all kinds of applications.
OGC members are evenly distributed across the world, with members from different continents. All standards are decided upon by using a process of collaborative decision-making. Agreement from all members is required before a standard is passed and all standards are based on real-life situations. The OGC standards define only the interface of the implementation - not the implementation itself.
International Standards Organization (ISO)
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 140 countries, one from each country. ISO is a private sector organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological, and economic activity. ISO's work results in international agreements which are published as International Standards.
The ISO 211 working group is the ISO group responsible for the standards that deal with Geographic Information and Geomatics. This working group states that its mission is "to establish a structured set of standards for information concerning objects or phenomena that are directly or indirectly associated with a location relative to the Earth."
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) both develops and promotes standard technologies for the Web. On the W3C website, you can find information about Web technologies such as the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), the Extensible Markup Language (XML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), or Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). W3C is an international consortium with over 500 members and a full-time staff of more than 60 people. W3C is led by Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited with inventing the World Wide Web.
For more information see w3c.org.