Mooney, Peter and Winstanley, Adam C.
Representations of Environmental Data in Web-based GIS.
Representing, modeling, and visualizing the natural environment.
CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp. 101-116.
The GIS community is using the vast potential of the Internet to disseminate geospatial
information. Web-based GIS software and services are key components in distribution of
geospatial data. Web-based GIS provide government departments, local authorities and
environmental agencies with unprecedented opportunities to offer online access to their
environmental information and related services for citizens. Web-based GIS offers access to
information services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In order for web-GIS to be
successful in delivering environmental information the representation of the input datasets and
output delivery formats/structures must be suitable to both the Internet delivery medium and the
intended audience. In the majority of cases this will involve conversion and re-modelling of existing
data resources. This paper discusses representations of environmental data for delivery and
dissemination using web-based GIS in order to serve a variety of stakeholders : policy makers,
scientists, media, and the general public. We summarise the major issues for delivering complex
geospatial data about the environment using this medium. Prioritisation of metadata collection and
geospatial data interoperability are crucial factors in delivering effective web-GIS tools. The
INSPIRE Directive will greatly increase the number of available data sources and the use of webbased
GIS for environmental information provision in the future will be discussed.
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