Standards are a common language for discussing and sharing data that can be approved or ad-hoc. A standard is defined by the people who use it. That is key. In the end, it doesn’t matter if the standard is approved by a governing body or not. What matters is that the people who use it agree to it. When used properly, standards will save time and money, and ensure quality and completeness.
In a meeting about missing persons’ data standards it was stated that if the Red Cross, Facebook and Google agreed on a standard to share data, then everyone else will follow. Not because the three organizations are a governing committee but instead they would be the three largest players in the space.
Data standards make it possible for you to share data within and between organizations. They make it possible to compare different sets of data for improved analysis. They form the basis of data infrastructure (framework for collecting, storing and retrieving data).
Here are a few examples of data standards:
- OASIS Emergency Management Exchange Language: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/emergency
- OASIS Common Alerting Protocol: http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/15135/emergency-CAPv1.1-Corrected_DOM.pdf
- Federal Geographic Data Committee, National Spatial Data Infrastructure: http://www.fgdc.gov/standards
- US Geological Survey, National Geospatial Program Standards: http://nationalmap.gov/gio/standards/
- Public Health Data Standards Consortium: http://www.phdsc.org/
- Coordinated Assistance Network: http://www.clientdatastandard.org/schema/
- International Organization for Standardization, ISO 8601: Numeric representation of date and time: http://www.iso.org/iso/date_and_time_format