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The main objective of the GeoNet 4D project is to evaluate and develop multimedia-based access to online cartographic information, using easy-to-use interfaces based on geographic data for information presentation, navigation, search and retrieval.

The project is driven by the conviction that interfaces based on interactive 'smart maps' will become a standard in distributed communications and networked computing.

Such intuitive multimedia tools will support the creation of a wide range of new value-added services, especially where complex information resources are used for group collaboration. GeoNet 4D addresses the technical and design issues required to work across platforms using a scaleable modular architecture, and aims to develop an open systems environment that will permit diverse users to work together easily over networks via animated smart maps which include 4D multimedia information.

Such an online cartographic system integrates several key components:
- 3D capacity to enable visualisation of mapping information on buildings, mountains, the sea bed, pipelines, statistics, etc.
- 4D time stamping to allow the display of time-related data from hydrodynamics, movement of objects on the sea, simulations, etc.
- networking to support fast collection, integration and online distribution of information between different users. Use of ATM, ISDN, TCP/IP and IPng functions and protocols.
- Object Oriented Database Management System (OODMS) client server engineering to permit correlation of users, multimedia and GIS data, temporal and spatial information, threaded and meta-linked data, security and transaction processing, etc.
- World Wide Web client server protocols and browser design/development, including full use of Java, VRML, OGIS and MHEG for easy online access to temporal, spatial and cartographic data.

GeoNet 4D browser/server development will support the time-stamped semantic data threads needed for group authoring and layering of shared geographic and multimedia datasets. A major design consideration is the potential for integration into emerging hardware such as graphics cards, mobile devices, embedded systems, networks, Web PCs, interactive kiosks and games machines. The dataset publishing, software programming and authoring requirements of users in these new markets will also be taken into account. Such areas will be key targets in the final exploitation phase of the project.

An early marketing analysis will be conducted to ensure GeoNet 4D is both compatible with and improves upon existing and emerging industry trends and developments. Technical and functional specifications will be based on combining the input of these studies with analysis of user requirements.

The partners involved in the project will test the feasibility of the system by conducting field trials in the real-world industrial environments of three European ports; Santander (Spain), Naples (Italy) and Toulon (France). The applications will focus on infrastructure management within the ports as well as on the environmental impact of the port zone activities within their respective regions, and the installations are intended to be consistent with ECDIS (Electronic Chart Distribution Information System).

The real industrial environments used for the field trials will provide an important focus for the design and development of the human interface. They will also show the system's functional and commercial potential both for marine port applications and other sectors of industry and commerce. Dataset publishing and authorship rights will be tested, and plans and models for further exploitation developed.

The Geonet 4D participants will be supported throughout the project by a World Wide Web server, and at the close of the project a GeoNet 4D internet kiosk will be created for further dissemination and promotion of the system and its components.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Participants (5)