Within the past decade, four organizations have began working on information technology standards to benefit the real estate market and related sectors such as mortgage, property valuation, architecture, engineering and construction markets. The four–the Open Geospatial Consortium Inc, the Appraisal Institute , the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization and the Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate–have distinct but complimentary functions.

Each group addresses the data needs of different stakeholders, explains Sam Bacharach, executive director of the Wayland, MA-based OGC, an industry consortium supporting interoperable solutions that “geo-enable” the Web, wireless and location-based services and mainstream IT. He continues, “Data standards represent agreement. The agreement is one between individual firms—often, competitors—to use a common format for data interchange. This agreement does not threaten any competitive advantage held by these firms. Rather, reducing unnecessary complexity in an area common to all firms allows innovators to concentrate on their core competencies.”

But for the uninitiated, the challenge is understanding the different roles of each group. GlobeSt.com asked Bacharach for a guide to the multiple organizations. So here’s a primer to help you sort it out.

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