US Army Corps of Engineers
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Enterprise Components

Geospatial Standards

Standardized feature data, maps and charts, elevation data, and imagery form the Standard Shareable Geospatial Foundation (SSGF) and are essential for a Common Operational Picture (COP)

The 4 Types of Standard Data

Feature data showing Transportation Ground vectors over southern New Hampshire. Feature data is part of the Standard Shareable Geospatial Foundation (SSGF). Source: NAS GGDM Profile.
Compressed Arc Digitized Raster Graphic (CADRG) over southern New Hampshire. Maps and charts are part of the Standard Shareable Geospatial Foundation (SSGF). Source: Tactical Pilotage Chart (TPC) from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Elevation Data over southern New Hampshire. Elevation data is part of the Standard Shareable Geospatial Foundation (SSGF). Source: Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data.
Imagery over southern New Hampshire. Imagery is part of the Standard Shareable Geospatial Foundation (SSGF). Source: NaturalVue Imagery.

Today's Standards

The Army requires a consistent understanding of the terrain to support military operations. Standards enable sharing of interoperable terrain data by defining a common language for data exchanges between systems designed independently of each other. This is why standards form the foundation for certifying that Army systems meet the Army’s geospatial interoperability requirements.

Building on Conceptual Foundation Standards, Industry Technical Standards, Defense (Allies) Standards, and American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Policy Standards, the  Army partners with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to develop National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) - approved geospatial standards to ensure interoperability with the Army Geospatial Enterprise.

Use of common standards across Army systems ensures interoperability and enables a Common Operational Picture.

The AGE works with standards organizations.

The Army Geospatial Enterprise works closely with major standards organizations to create standards that certify that Army systems meet the Army’s geospatial interoperability requirements.

Standard Shareable Geospatial Foundation standards are rapidly evolving and will change over time as the number of formats is reduced and the use of web services is increased. 

5 Emerging Standards to Watch

The Army Geospatial Enterprise not only uses existing standards, but actively shapes the future by participating with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in the development of new and emerging standards.

  • Open Routing Applications Programmer Interface (API). Currently, routing applications use different datasets and methods/algorithms, as well as different ways of displaying and sharing the results. The Open Routing API addresses interoperability among different routing engines as well as the exchange of the resulting routing information.   
  • Three-dimensional (3D) Container. The 3D Container focuses on a suite of open standards that aid visualization of 3D-tiled geospatial data for a smooth transition from 2D to 3D data.
  • Next Generation Web Services. The Next Generation Web Services initiative tracks the evolution of Open Geospatial Consortium web services with specific emphasis on Application Programming Interfaces to overcome the limitations of existing services and focus on modern and emerging standards.
  • Portrayal. Portrayal refers to the visualization of geospatial data. Elements include the specification of map symbols, rules for how to display map symbols, and guidelines for displaying text. Portrayal standards are developing a common language for map symbols.
  • Vector Tiles. Vector tiles encode vector data, such as points, lines, and polygons, in a rectangular tessellation and are emerging as an alternative to the raster tiles found in web maps. They typically are smaller than raster tiles, so they require less storage and can be rendered more quickly. In addition, they can be “styled” by the user when they are displayed.