FAQs

Is the PODS Association a qualified tax-exempt non-profit organization?

Yes. The PODS Association is a qualified non-profit organization under Internal Revenue Service Code 501 (c) (6). This status was granted to the PODS Association in June of 2004, by the Internal Revenue Service. A copy of the IRS ruling of PODS non-profit status is available for download.

Is the PODS Model copyright protected?

Yes. In order to legally use the PODS Data Model, its implementations, and data exchange standards, you must be a member of the PODS Association or have been a member when the version you are using was released.

How long has the PODS Association been in existence?

The PODS technical working committee first met in August, 1998. The PODS Association was formally incorporated in August, 2000, and became a registered not-for-profit IRS 501(c)6 organization in June of 2004.

Why was PODS formed?

In 1998, a small number of application developers were asked by the Gas Research Institute (GRI) to help speed the development of an expanded ISAT data model. These individuals (the GRI Working Group) generously donated their companies’ time, expertise and intellectual property to extend the original ISAT data model by adding important functionality and significantly expanding the original scope of ISAT. The effort has taken a very pragmatic approach with the goal of developing data model standards in the pipeline industry with an emphasis in the area of geo-spatial GIS technology.
The main objective of the initial effort – called Pipeline Open Data Standard or PODS (ISAT 2.0) – was to stimulate discussion and:

  • support the need to form a self funding organization, consisting of both pipelines and all the various applications developers, data vendors and service providers representing more than just GIS platforms,
  • suggest the adoption of a formal not-for-profit trade association with bylaws, various types of memberships, and membership fees supported by an annual budget,
  • suggest an initial slate of officers as interim Board members,
  • publish a timetable to promote discussion towards initiating the Association
  • publish a “White Paper” report to present new ideas and accelerate any technical discussions

What is Open about the PODS Data Model?

  • The word Open in the Association’s name refers to several key priorities of the Association:
    that the technologies used for model development strive to be open and independent of platform or vendor,
  • that membership be open to any company, association, agency or individual,
  • that membership directs the activities and priorities of the Association,
  • that data model standards developed are non-proprietary,
  • that members vote to approve the proposed data standards,
  • that funding is raised through membership fees, compliance fees, and sponsorship by member companies.

The Intellectual Property (IP) of the PODS data model itself is owned by the PODS Association, Inc. The PODS data model is not a public domain data model and is only available to member companies.

What do I receive for my membership in the PODS Association?

See our Benefits of Membership page.

What about Documentation?

PODS 5.0 includes approximately 1600 pages of documentation available to members.

Who are the members of the Association?

Current PODS member companies include the world’s largest oil & gas companies, software and service providers, industry associations, and government agencies. Pipeline operator members represent Gathering, Transmission and Distribution of gas and liquids.

Is work group or committee work mandatory?

No, but we encourage member companies to support their employees participation in these work groups. With more collective experience brought to these work groups, the PODS Technical Committee is able to better ensure the PODS Data Model is timely, relevant, and focused to meet the ever-increasing needs of pipeline operators. Participation in these committees and work groups is also an important means to assure that your company’s requirements are addressed by PODS. Remember that these work groups bring some of the foremost experts in their subject areas together around one virtual table, and represent a unqiue opportunity to work with your industry peers toward common goals to benefit our industry.

Can I initiate a Work group or Project Team?

Absolutely; in fact, all work groups are started as a result of member interest. Start-up of a work group begins with development of a charter document that describes the intent and scope of the work group project. The entire membership is solicited for participation and sponsorship of the project, the Board of Directors approves the project and work begins. In general, the PODS Association prefers to see a mixed representation from operating companies and service providers staffing each work group.

Does the PODS Association offer software or consulting services?

No. Many of our members are specialists in offering those types of services to the oil & gas industry. We do not recommend or endorse any particular member/firm and advise anyone looking for expertise that they directly contact the individual firms.

What is a PODS-compliant model?

A PODS Compliant model is one where no objects are dropped, but new tables and columns may be added. PODS Level 1 Compliance is defined as follows:

  • Supported for all versions of PODS
  • All objects are implemented as delivered
  • No objects renamed or deleted – tables, columns, relationships, keys or constraints
  • Required fields are not changed
  • No data type changes
  • Text fields may be lengthened, not shortened
  • Numeric fields may be lengthened, not shortened
  • May add new tables following existing patterns
  • May add new columns to existing tables as long as they are not required

How can I achieve interoperability with the PODS model?

Interoperability is a multi-step standardization process. The first step towards interoperability is to have a PODS Compliant model. Other steps involve further standardization of the model as well as data exchange standardizations. The Technical Committee is currently setting standards and determining the best process to achieve interoperability.