Home > BCS, DRM > And now for some Geospatial DRM

And now for some Geospatial DRM

As the name suggests this has to do with the application of DRM technologies to provide some control over the use of geographic information. In a world that has grown ever smaller, and more sophisticated, with the use technology to span great distances and deliver innovative location-based services, it has become increasingly obvious that geographic information will play a key role in enabling these services.

The whole point of DRM is intrinsically bound to the need to control information / data / content for a variety of reasons, most of which eventually relate directly to economics or good old filthy lucre. However like with any instrument, inappropriate use of DRM can often result in casualties (which may or may not involve its operator). Therefore it is always gratifying to come across organisations that show great promise of having this understanding well-embedded in their DNA before embarking on initiatives that involve the use of DRM technologies.

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) may be one example of just such an organisation. According to theOGC website, it is a “non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organisation that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services”. This is the exciting mash-up of geographic information with computing and communications technologies to provide innovative services that are relevant to that user’s location. The OGC has developed several technologies and standards relevant to geographic information, and they even have a cool demo of the OGC Web Services vision of interoperability.

A fundamental aspect of the work done by the OGC is its reliance on geographical data and information, which may be supplied and owned by third parties, therefore it is necessary to deploy systems that can effectively protect and manage such external Intellectual Property assets. To this end the Geo Rights Management Working Group has been tasked with enabling the adoption and adaptation of DRM for geospatial purposes. Among other things, this group has created and published a fairly detailed GeoDRM reference Model to be used in developing interface specifications for interoperable services as illustrated in their Web Services demo. It will be interesting to see how this will be adopted by the suppliers of Geographical information, or if other competing standards will win the day.

PS. I would be interested to hear of other interesting projects or initiatives that have elements of information control or rights management, and how they have been developed, or progressing, so do keep those comments coming.

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Note: This post was previously published on my BCS DRM Blog, where you can find the original post, and reader comments, in the archives.

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