Microsoft Follows Google Into Geospatial Standards Group

A scant few months after the Google Earth's KML was deemed a best practice by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Microsoft has joined the OGC as a principal member.

The Open Geospatial Consortium consists of 345 companies, government agencies, and universities. Their aim is to build a consensus around the development of the OpenGIS Specification.

In the Spring of 2007, Google submitted its Keyhole Markup Language (KML 2.1) -- the language Google Earth uses -- to the OGC for approval. The language was deemed a best practice, and the OGC has been working to integrate it into the extant Geography Markup Language (GML).

Now, Microsoft has joined the consortium as a Principal Member, to ensure its releases of Virtual Earth and SQL Server 2008 are OpenGIS-compatible.

It seems more and more that where Google makes a move, Microsoft is not far behind. But rivalries aside, the two companies' inclusion in the Consortium illustrates the prevalence and necessity of geospatial information.

"The greatest implication of Microsoft coming into OGC is that [it] is one of the few companies that you can really say has ubiquitous presence," OCG Chairman and CEO David Schell told Government Computer News. This means that Microsoft's ubiquity, in this case, could extend all the way into Google Earth.

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