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Standards and Interoperability Forum calls for participation

By Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa, SIF Chairperson, National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and Steven F. Browdy, SIF Core Member, President, OMS Tech Inc.

From its inception, GEO has recognized that the key to the success of GEOSS would lie not only in the contribution of Earth observation resources by its members, but in the synergies made possible through the interoperability of those resources. It was for this reason that the Standards and Interoperability Forum (SIF) was formed by the GEO Architecture and Data Committee. The SIF provides advice, expertise and impartial guidance on issues relating to standards and interoperability within the GEOSS context. To ensure that it is has the people, skills and resources needed to advance its work more effectively over the coming months and years, the SIF will shortly be issuing a Call for Participation to the GEO community.


About the SIF

The mission of the SIF is to facilitate the identification and use of standards and other interoperability arrangements for GEOSS. This is realized via the SIF’s main activities: 

  • oversight of the Standards and Interoperability Registry (SIR);
  • monitoring of relevant interoperability activities within GEO and the broader community; and
  • advocacy to increase technical and public awareness of matters relating to standards and interoperability.

The SIF relies upon GEO Members and Participating Organizations, standards development organizations, domain experts, and other contributors and users to carry out its work. It meets regularly to discuss and manage issues that arise related to the Standards and Interoperability Registry and interoperability. SIF Regional Teams exist in order to distribute the workload and to cultivate participation among groups of colleagues that are time-zone similar. 


A Call for Participation

The SIF, which until recently has been operating in an initial capacity, has identified through its experiences five key roles for participants. These are the Core management team, GEOSS infrastructure testers, interoperability advocates, interoperability technical advisors, and overseers of the Standards and Interoperability Registry.

The SIF has a well-defined task management process with a supporting Web- and email-based workflow system.  The details of the SIF roles and the SIF’s work will be found in the SIF Call for Participation, to be released by mid-October 2009 at The Call for Participation will also be found, along with the SIF Terms of Reference and SIF Operating Procedures, at under the SIF Operating Documents menu option.

The SIF needs resourceful and innovative participants to help see that the mission of the SIF, and the success of GEOSS, becomes a reality. Individuals representing standards development organizations and large national data producers are invited to participate, as are individuals who can perform and manage testing, and those who are good at writing about technically sophisticated subjects for user community education and outreach.