ISO Technical Committee 211 Geographic Information / Geomatics
Status Report
from J. Ihde

The work within the scope of the ISO/TC 211 Geographic Information/Geomatics was started in 1995. The standard family 15046 of ISO/TC 211 comprises altogether 19 partial standards, 7 to 8 standards of which can be looked up as being the core. The other standards deal mostly with rules and guidelines for creating the standards, their use and the continuation of the activities especially by so-called profile standards. The part 15046-11 - Spatial referencing by coordinates - which was developed within the scope of the Work Item 11 under the leadership of H. Seeger belongs to the core standards and was accompanied by the IAG. This standard contains rules and guidelines for information and for the description of geodetic reference systems (datums and coordinate systems) and of the relations between geodetic reference systems (datum transformation and coordinate conversions). About 15 people from all over the world took part in this group. The group worked from the beginning of 1997 until October 1998. With the outline of the Committee Draft the work of the project group is completed. Out of the project group an „Editing Committee" is formed which continues the works on the Committee Draft (CD) up to the final version of the International Standard (IS). In November 1998 the Committee Draft 15046-11 was sent to the member countries for comments. During the 8th Plenary Meeting of ISO/TC 211 in Vienna in March 1999 the comments were processed by the Editing Committee on a meeting so that in the middle of 1999 on the standard 15046-11 will be distributed as 2nd CD.

On the 7th Plenary Meeting of ISO/TC 211 in Beijing in September 1998 it became clear that the ISO/TC 211 will not finish the work with the conclusion of the present Work Items. Three geodesy relevant standards (Profiles) were proposed: Geodetic codes and parameters, Coordinate transformation services, Catalogue services.

The Working Group 3 - Geospatial data administration - of ISO/TC 211 was instructed to present a proposal for the task of the new standard „Geodetic codes and coordinates" to the Secretary of the TC until November 1998. The content of the new standard „Geodetic codes and coordinates" continues directly the standard from WI 11. On the basis of the guidelines given in WI 11 tables for identificators and descriptions of geodetic reference systems and of parameters which express the relations between reference systems have to be developed.

At the Plenary Meeting of ISO/TC 211 in Vienna in March two new work items with geodetic scopes were discussed:

  1. Geographic information - coordinate transformation with the scope:
  2. Specification of abstract service interfaces to be used for coordinate transformation. This service is based on the data models defined in 15046-11 - Spatial Referencing by coordinates. The intention of the coordinate transformation service is to support the functionality associated with transformation of coordinates from one coordinate system to another, including relevant support functions around this.

  3. Geographic information - geodetic codes and parameters with the scope:
To develop a Technical Specification on Geodetic Codes and Parameters in compliance with ISO 15046-11, which defines rules for the population of tables that meet the needs of 15046 users, identifies the data elements required within these tables, and makes recommendations for use of the tables. These recommendations should address the legal aspects, the applicability to historic data, the completeness of the tables and a mechanism for maintenance.
The proposed new work items will be prepared until the 9th ISO/TC 211 Plenary Meeting in September 1999.

Within the scope of IAG Subcommission for Europe (EUREF) activities are planned which correspond with the content of the planned standard „Geodetic codes and coordinates". On the meeting of a Working Group „Terminology" under the IAG Subcommission EUREF on 25 October 1998 in Paris three tasks were formulated:

  1. Standardization of the terminology for the description of geodetic reference systems.
  2. Description of geodetic reference systems which are used in Europe according to the guidelines of the standards ISO/TC 211, 15046-11 Spatial referencing by coordinates.
  3. Description of transformation procedures with algorithms and parameters for datum transformation and coordinate conversion between the geodetic reference systems and map projections which are used in Europe.
Because of the fact that ISO has a leading role in the field of standardization of geodetic information for geographic information systems the main field of IAG’s activities in standardization should also in future be this subject. Therefore the influence of IAG on possibly new initiated Work Items in the field of geodetic reference systems has to be ensured. In December 1998 J. Ihde was appointed as IAG representative to ISO/TC 211.