would really appreciate your input on the future of
LandXML. Together, we have more than a decade of great
success and It has been my great pleasure to work with
you all. I want to give you as much information I have
on current events and some about how it started.
First of all, let me assure you
that LandXML.org, the namespace and schema xsd file
locations will continue to work. I control the domain
and will make sure your investment in an effort I
started with you continues to be secure. I can say that
because I have been personally funding and supporting
the domain, web site, schemas and web applications for
about 6 years now.
From the Beginning
LandXML was proposed as an XML
formatted design standard that grew from the proposed
AASHTO E-ASE ASCII file format effort that my company
I spoke with Steve Brown at NDOR
and we agreed to proceed with a different approach by
converting E-ASE to a new format XSD called LandXML. The
early, most concerning issue was using XML, it was not a
finished standard itself, but it showed great promise.
Some of the first participants from FDOT agreed and
supported that approach. In hindsight we choose well.
For those that have met me
personally during the effort and those that have not, I
included a few pictures from the very first meeting at
IHEEP in 2001. From that very first meeting, aecXML
wanted to consider absorbing the newly formed LandXML.
We considered, but it was not what they were about. Back
then they were about pay items and left building models
to IFC (now IFCXML), their initial charter excluded
design data because it had been tried before and failed.
I took that as a challenge to focus
on design data.
As you can see in the pictures, at
that meeting we showed a demo:
That demo showed XML data could work in
intelligent applications and that LandXML provided the
design data required.
- I had a laptop running a CAD package shown on the big
We exported the data from CAD and it was
automatically, wirelessly synced to a pocketPC
running a java application that allowed editing and
moving a single point.
A gentleman from Kentucky DOT moved a cogo point and
hit save on the pocketPC. (Picture above shows Dean
Bowman and Chris Pair looking at the pocketPC).
On the big screen, a window popped up automatically seeing changed data,
prompted the user to update or insert.
Update was selected, everyone saw the cogo point move to the correct lot corner.
Here the is the first LandXML booth
when we had about 7 participants (I am the dark haired
Even with a shoestring budget, we
were blown away by the amount of attention we received
after the demo meeting and that validated our approach.
From the beginning LandXML was about doing not talking
and planning - and we did not stop until we achieved a
very usable version a few years later.
There are tens of thousands LandXML
files being used every year to design, survey and build
the world’s infrastructure. There are many private and
government processes that rely on a stable LandXML
standard as do, well, all the software vendors, each
with substantial investments made.
Again, let me assure you that
LandXML.org, the namespace and xsd file locations will
continue to work. I control the domain and will make
sure your investment in an effort I started with you
continues to be secure. How did that happen? Six years
ago all funding was stopped and I had to personally take
over and maintain everything related to LandXML.org.
Why? I promised LandXML.org participants that I would
keep LandXML.org going and had I not taken action, it
would have gone offline years ago.
LandXML.org has not been
updated and Nathan is very quite
Version 1.2 is serving the industry
well and there has not been much interest in 1.3 or 2.0
version. So, it has been quite. We all know LandXML is a
tremendously successful grassroots style standard that
accomplished much more than the three primary goals.
As a reminder, I wrote these back
LandXML specifies a design data structure that:
Transfers civil engineering / survey
design data between producers and consumers.
Provide a data format suitable for
long-term data archival.
Provide a standard format for official
electronic design submission.
Thanks to you and your
cooperation and work we have achieved these goals and
surpassed them by a long way.
LandXML Schema Future
Please let me know if there is
interest in continuing to the next version of the
schema. I have heard about a couple of minor issues, but
that is not enough for a new version. Please correct me
if I am wrong.
After working with you for 12 years
now, it has come to my attention that it appears like at
least one standards group is trying to subvert
Why? One word, Success. That is
only because over the past decade hundreds of us have
worked together to create a really usable standard that
is focused on our industry.
I have participated with ISO, ECMA
and OGC for a few years. These organizations require
paid memberships to participate in the standards
process, on the scale of $5k-50k or more per year for
increasing tiers of influence. At last count there are
about 650 organizations in LandXML.org: x*y = $$. Now
that we have done the hard work making LandXML
successful, according to their public document, OGC is
essentially hijacking LandXML and wants to invite
you pay to have any future input. In all fairness,
it does cost money to create, build and maintain data
Unfortunately our success has
caused other standards groups to wonder how we
accomplished something they couldn’t, especially without
using a formal organization.
Is the LandXML.org process perfect,
no not at all, but what is?
Did we try to work with them? Yes,
we did. I have tried to work with other organizations,
but the fit was not right nor practical.
If you recall I worked on a
research project with OGC to try to see what it would
look like and how experimental LandGML would work. The
bottom line is much more complex, verbose and the files
were 20x larger, so it was not practical. Here are comments on
the specific results.
It makes more sense for LandXML to
stay in our industry domain and perhaps work closer
with AASHTO or TRB.