The units of measure activity is not aiming to write a new standard for units of measure, but to formalise the existing standards.
The STEP experience is that there have been a number of attempts by application writers to avoid meeting ISO 10303 and instead get the users to accept a proprietary "standard"(of which there are now several in CAD), as this gives the vendors leverage. Conversely, there is substantial pressure from the user community for the vendors to follow the standard, and the users are paying to develop the standard where the vendors see shortcomings as a way of wriggling out of implementing it ("We can't implement anything until the standard is complete"). The packing of standards committees with vendor representatives is not unknown,(though not SC4 - it has too many competent user experts).
If someone then comes along claiming "We have a new and better method of doing this, but you will have to start afresh" then we can assume the speaker will not be believed ("We've heard this before") and there will be no funding from the users - not to develop the standard, not to test implementations, not even to pilot anything. As you mentioned, standards work is always underfunded, and at least some users understand the word "data".
If one tries to formalise the existing standards, and reuses the expert knowledge that is embedded in them, and then demonstrates there is some business advantage in the approach, then there is a chance of winning one or two of the battles for funding, and even without the funding, the users will be on your side in principle. If user see someone trying to create a different standard in the same domain, the assumption will be that there is some commercial interest at work, and most will wait to see what happens and some will actively oppose it.
No-one in the ontology community is going to define a better metre - that work has been done.
Sean Barker, Bristol
Dear Pat and Sean,
> ISO 10303 has taken a piecemeal approach to the well understood
> of communicating engineering data between professional organizations.
> So far it has taken about 30 years to develop, and the development
> investment for the standard alone was estimated at $500 million
> I'm sure Matthew could come up with some equally significant figures
> ISO 15926. (02)
MW: ISO 15926 is a lot cheaper. As far as I know no one has actually counted
the cost, but my guess is in the range of $20-$50m over 20 years. As with
ISO 10303 there have been significant deployments, and a number of CAD
systems claim compliance.
> If you want traction, you will need to persuade players at level of
> government agencies and major industrial players that what you are
> proposing is well founded and doable, and will build on existing
> capabilities. If you want a brick wall, then try telling them they
> to start again. (03)
MW: That is probably more negative than it needs to be. Both ISO 10303 and
ISO 15926, and indeed several other industrial data standards are developed
by ISO TC184/SC4. As it happens I am the UK rep on the Policy and Planning
Committee, so I have an insight into, and influence, on the strategic
thinking of that committee. What they do understand is that what they have
that is valuable is the knowledge that is wrapped up in their standards,
rather than the particular technologies currently in use. They are also
aware that there are new technologies, particularly related to the semantic
web, which they need to adopt and use to deploy the knowledge they have.
That does not make it any easier to do of course. (04)
MW: Many of you may have noticed Howard Mason's involvement in the Units of
Measure activity. He is the Chair of ISO TC184/SC4. So you can take it the
time of kicking and screaming is past. (05)
MW: On the other hand there is not the enormous sums of money you might
think you need. Most standards development is underfunded, because the
benefits are usually over the horizon of most people's short term view and
performance measurement. So you need to think about how you can start small,
and build momentum. (06)
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