Geo Week News

February 25, 2014

New geospatial standard a 'key enabler' for Internet of Things


OGC’s SensorML 2.0 describes sensors, actuators and processors

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) said Monday it approved the Sensor Model Language (SensorML) 2.0 Encoding Standard.

The OGC is an international consortium of more than 470 companies, government agencies, research groups, and universities developing publicly available, or “open,” geospatial standards, which 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 with any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website atSensorML 2.0 provides a standard encoding for describing:

  • Sensors (“things that measure”)
  • Actuators (“things that act”)
  • Processors (“things that calculate”)

SensorML is part of the Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) suite of open standard encodings and web services based on open and universally accepted standards for the Internet and web, and for spatial location. SWE standards are part of foundational standards for communicating with sensors, actuators and processors whose location matters, and are a “key enabler for the Internet of Things,” OGC said.

SWE standards, which have been implemented in satellite mission planning, monitoring and alerting, and intelligent cities globally, enable:


  • Discovery of sensors, processes, and observations
  • Tasking of sensors or models
  • Access to observations and observation streams
  • Publish-subscribe capabilities for alerts
  • Robust sensor system and process descriptions


SensorML 2.0 includes a number of changes to the previous version 1.0.1, which was approved in 2007. SensorML 2.0 includes new or improved features, including:

  • Support for using external schemas to describe sensor properties
  • Better-defined support for positions and dynamic state (e.g. location, orientation, velocity, and acceleration)
  • Better support for inheritance, allowing for more compact descriptions of deployed devices and processes
  • Direct access to real-time values and data streams
  • Better support for multiplexed data streaming (i.e. streams with disparate message types)

Efforts are also underway to take advantage of the complementary role that SensorML 2.0 can play with the OGC City Geography Markup Language (CityGML) Encoding Standard and the candidate OGC standard IndoorGML.

The OGC Sensor Web for IoT (SWIOT) Standards Working Group (SWG) seeks to make observations captured by IoT devices easily available to applications and users through data aggregation portals.

All OGC standards are free and publicly available. The OGC SensorML 2.0 Encoding Standard can be downloaded here. The online documentation includes a large collection of programming examples.

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