The major goals for developing National Geographic Information System Standardization include:
- to facilitate cross-disciplinary data sharing and integrated applications in the NGIS environment.
- to improve the clients' interoperability with regard to heterogeneous data via OpenGIS technologies.
- to remove application barriers caused by different data formats via open data content standards.
- to increase the possibility of data and service integration in the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) framework.
Ever since the launch of the National Geographic Information System (NGIS) in late 1980s, "standardization" has been considered as one of the key issues to successfully facilitate the sharing of geospatial data. Although the nine NGIS database groups have promulgated a number of standards and specifications over the years, only a few database groups have addressed the issues of data exchange standards due to their different priorities . As the volume and variety of geospatial data continue to increase, many sharing and distribution barriers must be reexamined and resolved to ensure that data from different resources can be accessed, distributed and interpreted in an interoperable way.
During the last 20 years, a tremendous amount of geospatial data has been created by organizations participating in the NGIS and various types of supply-demand relationships have been established among government and non-government organizations. The successful distribution and utilization of geospatial data, however, is often impeded by the heterogeneity of data formats, content and even services from different source providers. The ISO/TC211 (International Organization for Standardization, Technical Committee 211) and OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) have been actively working to develop international GIS standards that can serve as a common and consensus framework for geospatial data and services. By successfully integrating the requirements for geographic information and innovative information technology, these standards have been widely adopted by many developed countries or regions, such as the United States, Canada, Japan, the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand, as the fundamental framework for developing their National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).
To facilitate a nation-level, open and interoperable sharing environment, the development of NSDI requires a thorough examination of the strategies and policies regarding the coordination of data, technology and organizations. The NGIS standardization intends to introduce the OpenGIS concept to facilitate an open data sharing environment via the collaboration of NGIS participants and explore the procedures necessary to remove any possible communication obstacles. The major works in the first stage of this process (2004~2007) focused on the establishment of a solid foundation for NGIS standardization, with 14 core and sub-core data standards proposed and developed to serve as the fundamental framework for geospatial data applications. The procedure for drafting and approving data standards was extensively discussed and published as a set of technical specifications to ensure that all of the data standards being developed can comply with common regulations. The current stage (2008~) aims to further explore the common NGIS standardization requirements to meet newly emerged application needs.