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July 13th, 2018
OGC Calls for Participation in Vector Tiles Pilot

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has released a Call for Participation to solicit proposals for the OGC Vector Tiles Pilot Initiative.

The Vector Tiles Pilot, sponsored by the US Army Geospatial Center and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will advance an OGC approach to encode and publish Vector Tiles, and will propose extensions for WFS, WMTS, and GeoPackage.

Vector Tiles are an emerging technology that packages geographic data into predefined roughly-square shaped ‘tiles’ for efficient transfer over the web. Vector Tiles provide various opportunities, including: faster loading of web maps; flexible styling with modern, easy-to-use tools; and an incentive for commercial innovation while simplifying interoperability for command and control, consumer mapping, and many other applications.

Vector Tiles provide an efficient and effective method of delivering GeoINT data that can be queried and edited while remaining compact in file size. Sponsors of the Vector Tiles Pilot are interested in standardizing Vector Tiles across the following use cases:

  • OGC Web Services (WFS and WMTS)
  • Denied, Degraded, Intermittent, or Limited Bandwidth (DDIL) container format (GeoPackage)
  • The extensions will serve as basis for National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) Profiles.


OGC has coordinated several initiatives to advance the use of Vector Tiles. Testbed 12 and Testbed 13 advanced ideas, found issues, and proposed change requests to existing standards. However, this pilot is looking to advance extensions for current OGC standards.

This Pilot will propose several normative draft standard(s) including: a conceptual abstract model for vector tiles that can be used across OGC standards, as well as extensions for WFS 3.0, WMTS 1.0 and GeoPackage 1.2. Servers and Clients will be developed to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed solution. The expected encoding of Vector Tiles include:

  1. Google Protocol Buffers (a.k.a., protobuf) as defined by Mapbox Vector Tiles
  2. GeoJSON


More information on the Pilot, including the Call for Participation, is available on the OGC Vector Tiles Pilot Initiative Webpage. Responses are due by August 6, 2018.

Participation is open only to OGC Members. However, proposals from non-members will be considered provided that a completed application for OGC membership (or a letter of intent to become a member) is submitted prior to (or with) the proposal.

About the OGC Innovation Program
This Initiative is being conducted under the OGC Innovation Program. The OGC Innovation Program provides a collaborative agile process for solving geospatial challenges. Organizations (sponsors and technology implementers) come together to solve problems, produce prototypes, develop demonstrations, provide best practices, and advance the future of standards. Since 1999 more than 100 initiatives have been taking place from in-kind interoperability experiments run by a working group to multi-million dollar testbeds with hundreds of participants. Innovation Program initiatives include testbeds, interoperability experiments, pilots, concept development studies, hackathons and plugfests. The OGC also maintains a list of candidate ideas for future initiatives.

About OGC

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international consortium of more than 525 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that ‘geo-enable’ the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful within any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at

About AGC
The Army Geospatial Center (AGC) is a direct reporting element of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), collocated with ERDC’s Geospatial Research Lab (GRL) at the Humphreys Engineer Center in Alexandria, Virginia. The mission of the AGC is to provide timely, accurate, and relevant geospatial information, capabilities, and domain expertise for Army Geospatial Enterprise (AGE) implementation in support of unified land operations. AGC’s efforts encompass the design, development, fielding, and home station support of terrain, hydrological, navigational, imagery, command & control systems, and Geospatial/GEOINT expertise.

About Dstl
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) works to apply cutting-edge science and technology (S&T) to keep UK Armed Forces, and the British people, protected from harm. Dstl is an Executive Agency of the MOD, run along commercial lines. It is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to S&T in the defence and security field, with six sites; at Porton Down, near Salisbury, Portsdown West, near Portsmouth, Fort Halstead, near Sevenoaks, Sandridge, near St Albans, Langhurst, near Horsham and Alverstoke, near Gosport. Dstl works with a wide range of partners and suppliers in industry, in academia and overseas