Geoinformation Technology & Governance

This research programme investigates how both technology and governance aspects of the spatial information infrastructure – which is also called the spatial data infrastructure (SDI or geoweb) – can be further strengthened in order to solve complex social, industrial and management activities in the built environment.

The information infrastructure serves numerous application domains, such as urban planning and design, climate change, disaster management, infrastructure planning and management, transport, water management, etc. Two applications are given more attention and have become part of the programme: land administration and crisis management.

Geo-information technology (GIS technology or geo-ICT ) and geo-information governance are part of the more general discipline of geo-information science.The research within this programme develops both concepts and tools to facilitate sharing, exchange, integration, update and reuse of information sources within the SDI. The information is not limited to traditional 2D maps, but increasingly involves extra dimensions (height, time, scale): 3D..nD. When reusing information, legal and organizational issues (such as privacy, copyright and databank rights, business models) play an increasingly important role. The societal aim is to investigate, apply and test open data policies in order to underpin their success, maximize the benefit for society and provide sustainable information management for the increasingly complex built environment.

Societal/scientific quality and relevance of the research

Geo-information has been applied throughout the world for many centuries or even millennia, so why bother doing scientific research in this area? The answer is that the unprecedented increase in the volume of geo-information means that we need to find improved ways of handling it. Both the impact and the potential of geo-information are growing, because the information and the services needed to deal with it can be readily transported by electronic means via wireless networks and geo-information is more and more combined with emerging sensor, visualization and interaction technologies. Spatial data infrastructure (SDI) nodes throughout the world are increasingly using underlying geo-DBMSs (geo-data base management systems) to store the geo-information involved. Many applications make use of geo-information and related technologies. The GIS technology group devotes particular attention to developing (open source) geo-information technology and knowledge for use in crisis management and spatial information infrastructures. SDI is a complex concept and much work remains to be done, both in science and practice, before it can be operational in an effective and efficient manner.

The future

We have identified many research challenges to provide appropriate services, protocols and standards for national and international SDI. How often do we need to collect, update and/or archive sensor data (including crowd sourcing)? Which models are most appropriate for specific geo-information? How can we ensure the prompt delivery of data to users with time-critical needs, while maintaining quality control and accessibility for lower-priority users? How can we integrate crowd-sourced data and official government data? How should we prepare geo-information for different display devices? How can heterogeneous data flows be processed quickly enough to prevent data volumes from overwhelming managers and users? How can data be recorded in such a way as to enhance search capabilities? Answers to these questions will be explored along the initiated research lines in our programme: 5D geoinformation (also indoor), open data, etc.

More about this programme

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