Version 159 (modified by gordonrachar, 13 years ago)

--

History of ISO 15926


Contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Metaphor: Interoperability is Like Heavier-Than-Air Flight
  3. How We Store and Exchange of Textual Information
  4. How We Know and Understand Things
  5. How We Use the Internet to Find Information
  6. How we Store and Exchange Plant Information
  7. Next

Abstract

Interoperability of digital information became an issue almost as soon as computers made their way into engineering offices. Many organizations from around the world have been working on this subject for many years, from Owner/Operators, Constructors, Consulting Engineers, and Software Developers. A number of standards organizations have also initiated projects to implement ISO 15926.


Metaphor: Interoperability is Like Heavier-Than-Air Flight

There have been many attempts at interoperability, some fizzling out in a few years, some lasting until today. Different organizations, with different needs, have tried different approaches. All of these attempts have had to deal with how to convey the meaning of the data as it (the data) is being transmitted. Some solutions are based on limiting the scope of the data in order to simplify the task of conveying meaning, others attempt to allow unlimited scope.

At the lowest level, interoperability is extremely complex, just as the mechanics of flying is extremely complex. Fortunately, when it is mature, using ISO 15926 will be about as complicated as using flight is today. For instance, your humble author, sitting in the middle of Western Canada in the coldest winter since Al Gore started on the rubber chicken circuit, is right now thinking about using heavier-than-air flight. But if I do, I will not have to concern myself with things like power-to-weight ratios, or the exact curve of the wing to maximize the difference in air pressure between the upper and lower surfaces. I will simply phone my travel agent and book a flight to Mexico. Similarly, when ISO 15926 is mature, all most users will need to know is which button to push to connect to a business partner.

ISO 15926 is a solution to interoperability of plant information made possible by the convergence of four areas of interest:

  • How we store and exchange textual information
  • How we know and understand things
  • How we use the Internet to find things
  • How we store and exchange plant information

We may well end up with more than one tool for interoperability, just as there is more than one way to do heavier-than-air flight. (For example, glider, propeller airplane, jet airplane, and helicopter.) But just as in flight, where the common element to all modes of flight is a particular shape of whatever is doing the lifting (wing, rotor, aircraft body), we are starting to see that the dictionary of terms (Part 4) is becoming a common element. In Figure 1, below, this is shown as the common use of ISO 15926 Part 4, the reference data library.

Error: Macro Image(History_ISO15926.JPG, 500px) failed
Attachment 'wiki:ISO15926Primer_History: History_ISO15926.JPG' does not exist.

Fig 1 - History of ISO 15926

How We Store and Exchange of Textual Information

Exchanging information between two well-known applications is relatively simple because when we know exactly what all the data values on both sides of the exchange represent it is easy to map them together. But when we move toward the vision of ISO 15926 where anything-can-talk-to-anything worldwide, we can no longer count on knowing anything at all about the information on the other side of the transaction.

In order to transmit information reliably to a random receiver, we must have a common method of classifying things. This is the study of Taxonomy and Ontology.

ISO 15926 classifies plant objects using an open, extensible Ontology.

How We Know and Understand Things

Exchanging information between two well-known applications is relatively simple. When we know exactly what all the data values mean on both sides of the transaction, it is easy to map them together. But when we move toward vision of ISO 15926, where anything-can-talk-to-anything, we can no longer count on knowing anything at all about the information on the other side of the transaction.

In order to transmit information reliably to a random receiver, we must have a common method of classifying things. This is the study of Taxonomy and Ontology.

ISO 15926 classifies plant objects using an open, extensible Ontology.

How We Use the Internet to Find Information

The amount of information that is available on the Internet is truly staggering. Unfortunately, most of it is junk. Worse, much of what isn't junk is stored in locations, or in forms, that are not intuitive to all Internet users. And because the information is not presented in a uniform manner, understanding whether a given piece of information is worthwhile or not usually requires a human being to sift through it page-by-page.

The vision of the Semantic Web is that human users will be able to launch an intelligent agent that will sift through this huge mass of data on its own and report back when it finds something. But to enable this we need a way of describing information in a manner that embeds into the information, some of the context humans use to understand things.

ISO 15926 leverages the tools developed for the Semantic Web.

How we Store and Exchange Plant Information

Most plant engineers are familiar with the issue of transferring the contents of a CAD drawing from one authoring system to another. But this is not a new issue at all; it goes back several decades to when we first used computers in engineering. The huge demand for free and easy exchange of plant, and other, information has spawned a number of initiatives.

ISO 15926 builds directly on many of these prior initiatives.

Next


Home
About PCA
Reference Data Services
Projects
Workgroups