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As SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (STAC) specification matures one of the more frequent questions we get asked is the relationship between STAC and the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). I wanted to write this post to help clarify, at both a technical and an organizational level.

The tl;dr version is:

‘STAC API implements and extends the OGC API — Features standard, and our shared goal is for STAC API to become a full OGC standard’

The longer version has a lot more detail, but if you’re interested then read on!

The Backstory

I’m pleased to share that we’ve just released STAC API 1.0.0-beta.1. This is our first release of the API since we split the specification, with STAC now living in its own repository. You can see the latest specification in the stac-api-spec repository, and we link to browsable API representations of the major portions below.

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In This Release

What started out as a pretty modest release ended up snowballing into a major amount of work, but I think we’re all pretty proud of the end state. Our main goal was to have a version of the API that was released standalone, independent of the STAC Core releases. In previous versions, it was just assumed that a version number applied to both the STAC content and the API. So we wanted to enable services could be more explicit about which version of each they supported — one could upgrade the service to 1.0.0-beta.1 API, but have it still serve STAC 0.9.0 …

It’s been two months since we wrapped up the Cloud Native Geospatial Outreach Day and Sprint. I meant to get this post out much sooner, but life happens and 2020 is a tough year. But I wanted to announce all the winners of our experiment with ‘Community Awards’, as a companion to the Outreach Day Recap.

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About the Awards

I know I’m a broken record thanking our sponsors, but I think it’s appropriate to do so for this section, as it’s entirely possible due to their support of our communities.

It’s been just over three weeks since the Cloud Native Geospatial Outreach Day. Everyone I’ve talked to felt it was an incredible event, and I definitely concur. Thankfully we managed to record almost all of it, so if you missed it you can still catch the content on youtube!

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RadiantEarth edited and put together this playlist for the full event.

I wanted to give a recap of the event and share some of my favorite parts.

Welcome & Overview

Details on the Sprint & Outreach Day agenda and awards

I wanted to share some background and more details about the Cloud Native Geospatial Outreach Day and Sprint (1 week away! September 8th — signup here), which has grown out of the SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (STAC) community sprints. One of our goals for STAC has been to make it a truly collaborative community, and one that is welcoming as possible. We believe that the best standards are forged from diverse use cases and perspectives coming together and collaborating. We started with a gathering of 25 people from 14 organizations and have always sought to bring more people into the fold.

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Scenes from the first STAC Sprint, before it was even called STAC

I think we’ve done well at bringing in diverse technology perspectives, but it’s bothered me that the majority of people who join our sprints all look the same. I’m not sure that we’re worse at inclusion than the general geospatial tech industry, but it is a goal of mine to do better in the communities I help lead and to play an active role in welcoming more truly diverse contributions to the broader geospatial & tech industries. …

On September 8th we will be continuing SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (STAC) Sprint #6, but we decided to expand its scope to include more of the ‘Cloud Native Geospatial’ ecosystem. The core idea of Cloud Native Geospatial is articulated in this ‘blog series’, with the first post positing the question: ‘what would the geospatial world look like if we built everything from the ground up on the cloud?’. The second post introduced the Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF (COG), and it has since emerged as a default format for anyone doing geospatial on the cloud.

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Sign up here!

So the ‘Outreach Day’ will aim to introduce STAC, COG, and other emerging cloud-native geospatial formats and tools to new audiences. Our hope is to make the day accessible even to those who do not have deep geospatial or software development knowledge. We want to welcome new people into our community, as we believe that having all geospatial data in the world on the cloud, with tools that can process it, can help us tackle the largest problems that face us. But the technology won’t have a real impact on our planet unless we enable a diversity of users to learn it, contribute to it, and use it in their work. …

Just wanted to give a quick update on STAC Sprint #6, starting next week! Our first major focus is on ‘software’ — upgrading and building out the tooling that creates and makes use of the SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (STAC) specification. So far we’ve got over 50 people signed up, with people interested in working on SNAP, Intake-stac, Open Data Cube, Microsoft’s Planetary Computer, Franklin, GeoTools, GeoServer, pygeoapi, trying STAC out with point clouds, radio occultation data, TileDB Arrays, zarr, and of course working on core tools.

Please sign up if you’re interested in joining. I plan to send out the schedule in the next few days. We’ll be getting started at 13:00 UTC (click for the time in your timezone). That’s obviously early for some people (like me at 6am in San Francisco) and late for others, so we’ll also have some form of virtual introduction and aim to open up collaboration space before the kickoff. …

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Signup here

With the SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (STAC) spec recently reaching 1.0.0-beta, we figured it’s time for one final sprint before we push out 1.0.0 final. The goal with STAC has always been to ensure that the specification meets real-world needs, by always iterating its improvements in conjunction with actual implementations. One early goal was to reach 1 billion records in STAC before we go to 1.0.0, but we achieved that much earlier than expected. But the various catalogs have not necessarily upgraded to the latest STAC version right when it comes out. So our main goal for the sprint is going to be to upgrade all the STAC software and catalogs to the latest 1.0.0 beta specification and ideally add several new catalogs and data types. The goal will be to ensure that STAC is flexible enough to handle anything, so when we reach 1.0.0 …

The SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog community is incredibly proud to announce the release of STAC 1.0! If you want to get technical it’s 1.0-beta.1, which means that everything is not yet completely locked in. And it’s just the core specs, as we’ve split off the STAC API into its own repository, and its 1.0-beta.1 release will follow. But this is a huge milestone, as it symbolizes that the community has worked through every known issue and desired improvement. …

I am pleased to announce that the incredible STAC community has just released version 0.9.0! This work on the release began in earnest during the 5th STAC Sprint that took place in early November. Having everyone in person enabled us to discuss all the major issues remaining, and we managed to get to decisions on all of them and got to at least draft pull requests of each. The last couple of months have been spent refining those and getting all the little details right, including two ‘release candidates’ — drafts that the community could give feedback on. …


Chris Holmes

Product Architect @ Planet, Board Member @ Open Geospatial Consortium, Technical Fellow @ Radiant.Earth

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