There is a pressing need within the map generalisation research community to initiate processes for supporting cooperation and allowing techniques and results to be shared. On the one hand, increasing complexity of methods and concepts in this domain has made the issue of open access to research evermore necessary to ensure that new investigations can be undertaken at the research frontier with the minimum of ancillary effort. On the other, as the basis for conducting ‘good science’, researchers must be able to gain access to growing body of prior work, so that comparisons can be made and results evaluated. Realising such desires involves addressing a complex set of interoperability challenges at a number of different levels; technical, syntactic and semantic. The paper describes the experiences of the authors in tackling such issues. It first details the implementation of a web services technology for exposing generalisation research through an open interface. Then it discusses the need for formalized data structures to encode geographic representations and generalization concepts. Finally it considers the issue of semantic interoperability and examines how ontologies might be used to overcome these difficulties.