JTC 1/SC 24 N 2121 Suppliment

Supporting Information for Request for Approval of Cooperative Agreement with the SEDRIS Organization

1 Introduction

By Resolution 11 of its November 1999 Plenary Meeting, JTC 1 requested that SC 24 provide supporting information detailing the benefits to be derived from approval of the "Cooperative Agreement between ISO/IEC JTC 1 and the SEDRIS Organization". This document is in response to that request.   We call JTC 1's attention to the fact that the first four New Work Item Proposals for cooperative work between JTC 1 and the SEDRIS Organization are already approved and the work has been assigned to JTC 1/SC 24.  

SC 24 is resubmitting a revised Cooperative Agreement to JTC 1 with this document.  SC 24 and the SEDRIS Organization have taken advantage of the delay in approval of the first draft of this agreement to consult with ITTF and others on the wording of the agreement and have made several minor revisions based on this review.  SC 24 believes that the current scope of the agreement is the correct one to cover both the currently assigned work as well as future work that is expected to involve other JTC 1 SCs, notably SC 29 and 32. We also call JTC1's attention to the fact that the wording of this Cooperative Agreement is nearly identical to that of three previous Cooperative Agreements approved by JTC 1.

SC 24 requests that JTC 1 approve the "Cooperative Agreement between ISO/IEC JTC 1 and the SEDRIS Organization" and forward it to ISO and IEC Councils for endorsement.

2 Benefits to be derived from this agreement

The field of work of ISO/IEC JTC 1 deals with Information Technology. The SEDRIS Organization ( http://www.sedris.org/ ) has developed a data model and enabling technologies for the representation and exchange of synthetic environments. The name for this data model and technology is the Synthetic Environment Data Representation and Interchange Specification (SEDRIS) and will form the basis for the first joint standardization work of the two organizations. Synthetic environments (also known as virtual environments, virtual reality, virtual worlds or similar terms) are an important area of Information Technology for which International Standards are now needed. These SEDRIS specifications  involve several areas of Information Technology including the historic areas of work of  SC 24 (Computer Graphics and Image Processing), SC 29 (Coding of Audio, Picture, and Multimedia and Hypermedia Information), SC 32 (Data Management and Interchange) and SC 34 (Document Description and Processing Languages).

Cooperation between ISO/IEC JTC 1 and the SEDRIS Organization will allow the respective organizations to avoid duplication of effort, and insure interoperability of synthetic environment based systems world-wide. Some specific areas of cooperation and the anticipated benefits of each are:

  1. The recently finalized VRML International Standard (ISO/IEC 14772-1) is used to form virtual worlds and to provide a means for interaction within these virtual worlds. Such virtual worlds may be derived from information contained in synthetic environment databases. The future evolution of VRML and of synthetic environments in a compatible and synergistic manner requires that close cooperation be established and maintained among JTC 1/ SC 24, the Web3D Consortium (responsible for VRML technology) and the SEDRIS Organization so that present standards can evolve and future standards can be developed cooperatively among the three organizations. The primary benefit is cooperation between the three organizations that would not happen otherwise and the "synergy" that results from that cooperation. Such cooperation is an integral part of today's WWW. There is already cross-pollination between the VRML and the SEDRIS Organization communities and cooperation among all three parties will display the benefits of ISO/IEC standardization. The Web3D Consortium has recently finalized its GeoVRML Specification (see http://www.geovrml.org/1.0/doc/ ).  This specification is based in large part on SEDRIS technologies and will be the subject of a forthcoming work within JTC 1.  Approval of the Cooperative Agreement will enable thee way cooperation among JTC 1, the Web3D Consortium and the SEDRIS Organization in transposing this  important specification into an International Standard.
  2. The SEDRIS Organization has developed the SEDRIS Specification set. To enable the future evolution, stability, and acceptance of these specifications, it is highly desirable that they be transposed into International Standards. The transposition of the SEDRIS technologies will be the first project under the proposed Cooperative Agreement with the SEDRIS Organization and the first four NPs for this work have already been approved by JTC 1.  The approval of this Cooperative Agreement is necessary so that the development work can be carried out as the agreement specifies the terms and conditions that apply to the work.  An obvious benefit to JTC 1 will be permission to use the SEDRIS technologies as a basis for future International Standards.
  3. SEDRIS Organization technologies store and maintain descriptions of graphical items including geometry and topology, image, and property information. To insure that these descriptions can be widely used with current and future standards, their form can be cooperatively defined between the liaising organizations. SEDRIS Organization technologies can already maintain information in formats defined by international standards and it is to the benefit of all parties that interoperability of such formats be insured.  In particular, formats defined by these JTC 1 subcommittees are presently used in SEDRIS specifications: SC 24, SC 29 and SC 34.

3 Cooperative Background

The SEDRIS Organization was founded in 1995 to develop the base technology for representing synthetic environments (SEDRIS) and other related technologies. JTC 1 SC 24 experts have been working informally with the SEDRIS Organization for over a year to prepare for bringing SEDRIS technologies into JTC 1 for standardization. During this time these ISO/IEC experts have made key contributions to the evolving SEDRIS specifications. This informal cooperation has been very successful and both organizations believe that it should now be formalized. Such formalization will permit a clear path to ISO standardization for current and future SEDRIS Organization technologies as well as providing the expertise to JTC 1/ SC 24 to the SEDRIS Organization on a more structured and well-defined basis. A key benefit to the SEDRIS Organization is the increase in the quality of the SEDRIS standard that has already been demonstrated by our informal past cooperation.

The cooperation proposed with the SEDRIS Organization is patterned after the very successful recent collaborative efforts between JTC 1/SC 24 and the VRML (now Web3D) Consortium (see Information Technology: The Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) ISO Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 9, September 1997), between JTC 1/SC 24 and NATO/US DoD ISMC, and between JTC 1/SC 24 and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Each of these efforts has successfully produced at least one International Standards of high quality in minimal time by cooperatively blending the processes and procedures of both organizations to their mutual benefit.