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Geographical mediation systems: feasibility study

Objective

The proposed pilot application (GEOMED) integrates information and communications technology into a platform independent set of software tools and protocols for supporting urban and rural planning via wide-area electronic networks. The purpose of the system is to assist government and businesses (possibly interacting with the general public) with the retrieval, use and reuse of information practices and knowledge in cooperative, distributed planning procedures requiring access to geographical information.

The pilot will particularly address questions of:

- finding the required information across a set of heterogeneous servers;
- developing a platform-independent approach to the exchange and manipulation of geographic information objects; - accessing geographic information objects within compound documents;
- development of 'mediation' services between different co-operative users of the system;
- investigation of integrating paradigms such as software agents for the analysis and implementation of the before mentioned tasks;
- enhancing of access from more 'popular' platforms to functionality currently available only on high-end platforms;
market aspects of geographical information systems with mediation component.

The proposed pilot application (GEOMED) integrates information and communications technology into a platform independent set of software tools and protocols for supporting urban and regional planning via wide-area electronic networks. The purpose of the system is to assist government and businesses with the retrieval, use and reuse of information, practices and knowledge in cooperative, distributed planing procedures requiring access to geographical information. The prototypical application scenarios include that of a company trying to decide where to locate a new factory or agency somewhere within the European Union, a community deciding how to partition the lots of a new housing district, or governments assessing the impact of the building of a large trans-national infrastructure. Both large and small scale geographical planning tasks will be supported.

The general utility of such an information system results from the complexity, heterogeneous and inherently distributed nature of the data involved. Wide area geographical planing requires the timely collaboration of different parties working on different levels - local, regional, national and European - and aspects of the problem, and typically having conflicting views and interests. The process is often cumbersome, rigid and opaque - especially to the citizen concerned - and information is not optimally used and reused.

The project would progress in stages, beginning with an application-oriented analysis of requirements, design specification, prototype implementation and system evaluation in close cooperation with a group of representative users, such as European Environmental Agency. The major aims of the feasibility study are: (1) To establish a group of project sponsors, public or private, that would have an interest in the results of GEOMED (i.e., requiring exchange of geographical information to solve common problems). (2) To specify the concrete objectives of the pilot application, based on an analysis of these users needs, and with their cooperation. (3) To conduct a survey of existing technology, infrastructure and standards for realising these objectives, as well as the different options for change and improvement. (4) To identify and evaluate the opportunities and risks of the alternative ways of realising the pilot application. The GEOMED-F project will produce tangible output that meets the requirements for a full project proposal as much as possible, covering also management and consortium related issues.

The key technologies expected to contribute towards a solution to this problem are Multi-media, Networking, Distributed Object-Oriented Programming, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Geographical Information Systems and Artificial Intelligence. The integrating paradigm is the concept of a software agent. Assessing the different options to implement this concept on top of existing networking infrastructure, and in a way compatible with official or industry standards, is a major aim of GEOMED.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung mbH
Address
Schloß Birlinghoven
53757 Sankt Augustin
Germany

Participants (3)

TNO Building and Construction Research
Netherlands
UNIVERSITE JOSEPH FOURIER - GRENOBLE 1
France
Address
Avenue Centrale 621
38041 Grenoble
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Belgium