Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Geospatial Semantic Web / Evolutionary Changes

I believe some of the comments in the article noted below will affect, or are already affecting how geospatial, semantic, and place based interest networking web sites are being developed, by government agencies and and all other organizations and educational institutions providing "Place Based" information to the public.

In our own work with Mountain Visions we are attempting to learn how to employ these changes on web site projects we develop. One example of a project in progress now is the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Water Quality Monitoring web site project. The map to the right provides a hot link to a Google Map providing links to a number place based GeoWeb information pages.

Prof. Mike Jackson, David Schell, and Prof. D.R. Fraser Tayor wrote a very detailed article in Directions Magazine published April 6, 2009, titled "The Evolution of Geospatial Technology Calls for Changes in Geospatial Research, Education and Government Management." Below are a few summary comments I cut and pasted to provide a quick look at the longer article.

"The Geospatial Semantic Web is poised to develop rapidly on the platform of the World Wide Web Consortium's Semantic Web."

"1. Introduction

Over the last 15 years, geospatial technologies have evolved and dramatically converged with a variety of formal information technology disciplines. The discrete, even esoteric pursuits we referred to as GIS, Earth imaging, GPS, AM/FM, location based services and navigation systems are no longer discrete. Now they are of a piece, they "talk to one another" and interact freely in a fertile communications environment of wireless broadband, portable cell phone/computers, sensor-webs and, of course, the dynamically evolving environment of the World Wide Web. In fact, geodata is rapidly becoming a conventional and pervasively familiar data type seen at once to underpin and significantly recharacterize the digital world, with broad implications for both technology and society."

"This is not just a US issue. Most countries are poised to generate vast quantities of new geodata. The technologies for producing and using geodata have become so inexpensive and cost-effective that the budgetary constraints that faced government agencies and companies are increasingly not an issue. Perhaps of even greater significance, however, is the fact that the generators of the data will also increasingly be the mass consumer. Through the use of what will be ubiquitous GPS enabled mobile phones (supplemented with other positioning technology for indoor as well as outdoor coverage) the public will increasingly provide dense networks of location-tagged data and imagery as a by-product of their natural mobility and consumption of location-based services."

"6. Conclusion
Just as the significance of the Web could not be widely appreciated until the necessary Web standards had been in place for a few years, we believe that all the domains of geospatial technology and application are about to experience a remarkable transformation due to global adoption of open standard geospatial Web service interfaces and encodings. The rich "network effects" made possible by chained Web services, GRID computing, sensor webs, geospatial semantics, and online catalogs for data, services and schemas hold great promise, but there is no guarantee that this promise will be fulfilled. The question is, can we find the institutional will - in academia and government - to make changes that enable societies around the world to make the most of these new tools?"

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