Lexicon Committee

From OSGeo
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Lexicon committee is an OSGeo Special Interest Group, responsible for coordinating official definitions for terminology used within the OSGeo context. The committee is drawn from the OSGeo, OGC and ISO communities and is based on merit and interest.


The Lexicon committee plays two essential roles:

  1. As the gatekeeper of terms to ensure quality checks of contributions
  2. As the seat of central terminology knowledge for alignment of terms and concepts. To facilitate the flow of terminology knowledge to terminology authors and users.

The committee involves individual representation from external groups including ISO/TC 211 and OGC in order to leverage their experience in terminology, which is useful in situations such as alerting on cross-organization alignment of concepts or term duplication.

TBD: Cameron's version of the role of the committee:

  1. Support the use of best practices in writing terms
  2. Facilitate developing consistent terminology between OSGeo projects
  3. Provide an authoritative repository of OSGeo terminology
  4. Act as a conduit of terms between OSGeo projects, OSGeo, OGC and ISO.

Online presence

Terminology isn’t useful until people use them, which means people need to first know they exist and what they mean. The Geolexica initiative has volunteered to setup https://osgeo.geolexica.org/ to serve OSGeo in managing its lexicon database.

Geolexica serves human-readable concepts and terms, as well as machine-readable JSON, allowing APIs to directly consume the content. It currently serves ISO/TC 211’s terminology management group in making its multi-lingual geographic information terminology available on the internet (https://www.geolexica.org).

To minimize friction in the feedback process, for every term offered in the OSGeo terminology pages we can offer a “propose new term” and “propose changes to this term" buttons. This allows user to directly go to the issue platform (e.g. GitHub) to make the suggested changes.

The structure of Geolexica is designed for efficiency with streamlined management and operations. Terms are stored in structured data (YAML) files, and are directly deployable to the website. The website operates according to best practices, and is served as a static website with dynamic search functionality. Security and performance have always been key considerations.

TBD: We should mention that the Geolexia management software is based on Open Source (which mitigates project risk). We should link to the source code project in github.

OSGeo terms will additionally be published at:

  • OSGeoLive
  • TBD OSGeo Journal?


Initial load and data cleanup

The initial load of the terms will involve a bulk load from cleaned terms and definitions sourced from prior OSGeo glossaries. Geolexica could easily handle the initial conversion from table format into the desired structured data format.

As of 2019-10, the cleanup process has already started.


  • New terms, or improvements to existing terms may be proposed at any time, by anyone in the community.
  • It is recommended that proposed term updates are initially discussed and refined on the Lexicon email list. TBD: Link to list once setup.
  • Terms can then be submitted to the GeoLexia website. TBD explain how.
  • The lexicon committee will periodically review and approve new terms.
  • The lexicon committee will review and update terms at least annually, in line with the OSGeoLive documentation build cycle.


We communicate on the OSGeo Lexicon email list.

Committee members

TBD: Once formed, the following people have volunteered to join this committee:

  • Cameron Shorter
  • Rob Atkinson (OGC)
  • Ronald Tse (ISO/TC 211, ISO Geodetic Registry Registration Authority, Ribose Inc.)
  • Reese Plews (ISO/TC 211, Terminology Management Group)
  • ... others welcomed

Past members. We thank these prior members for their contributions:

  • None yet

Selection of new members is determined by committee member vote. Committee members may retire any time. If a committee member becomes inactive for many months they may be invited to retire, and if unresponsive they may be retired by the existing committee.


Decisions are based on voting using the following:

  • +1: For
  • +0: Mildly for, but mostly indifferent
  • 0: Indifferent
  • -0: Mildly against, but mostly indifferent
  • -1: Strongly against. This is expected to be accompanied by a reason.

For most decisions, a motion is raised within one of the committee open forums (IRC, email list, etc) and those present vote and decide. Should a decision:

  • Be strategic or impact many within the committee,
  • Or if there be contention in deciding, and after discussion at least one member is still strongly against the motion, by continuing to vote -1,
  • Then the motion should be referred to the committee.

For motions presented to the committee, a motion is considered passed when there are more committee +1 votes than -1 votes, and either all committee members have voted, or 1 week has passed. In the case of a tie, the committee chair shall have 1.5 votes.

Expectations of committee members

  • Contribute to or related activities when the committee is active.
  • Help with whatever dirty work is required to keep the project moving forward.
  • Monitor committee conversations on our email list.