Geoinformatics, also: Geographic information science (GIS) and Geographic information technology (GIT), is the science and the technology which develops and uses information science infrastructure to address the problems of geography, geosciences and related branches of engineering.
Geoinformatics has been described as “the science and technology dealing with the structure and character of spatial information, its capture, its classification and qualification, its storage, processing, portrayal and dissemination, including the infrastructure necessary to secure optimal use of this information”or “the art, science or technology dealing with the acquisition, storage, processing production, presentation and dissemination of geoinformation”.
Geomatics is a similarly used term which encompasses geoinformatics, but geomatics focuses more so on surveying. Geoinformatics has at its core the technologies supporting the processes of acquiring, analyzing and visualizing spatial data. Both geomatics and geoinformatics include and rely heavily upon the theory and practical implications of geodesy.
Geography and earth science increasingly rely on digital spatial data acquired from remotely sensed images analyzed by geographical information systems (GIS) and visualized on paper or the computer screen.
Geoinformatics combines geospatial analysis and modeling, development of geospatial databases, information systems design, human-computer interaction and both wired and wireless networking technologies. Geoinformatics uses geocomputation and geovisualization for analyzing geoinformation.
Branches of geoinformatics include:
- Geographic Information Systems
- Global Navigation Satellite Systems
- Remote sensing
- Web mapping
Many fields benefit from geoinformatics, including urban planning and land use management, in-car navigation systems, virtual globes, public health, local and national gazetteer management, environmental modeling and analysis, military, transport network planning and management, agriculture, meteorology and climate change, oceanography and coupled ocean and atmosphere modelling, business location planning, architecture and archeological reconstruction, telecommunications, criminology and crime simulation, aviation and maritime transport. The importance of the spatial dimension in assessing, monitoring and modelling various issues and problems related to sustainable management of natural resources is recognized all over the world. Geoinformatics becomes very important technology to decision-makers across a wide range of disciplines, industries, commercial sector, environmental agencies, local and national government, research, and academia, national survey and mapping organisations, International organisations, United Nations, emergency services, public health and epidemiology, crime mapping, transportation and infrastructure, information technology industries, GIS consulting firms, environmental management agencies), tourist industry, utility companies, market analysis and e-commerce, mineral exploration, etc. Many government and non government agencies started to use the spatial data for managing their day to day activities.
A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area..
A geo-fence could be dynamically generated—as in a radius around a store or point location. Or a geo-fence can be a predefined set of boundaries, like school attendance zones or neighborhood boundaries. Custom-digitized geofences are also in use.
When the location-aware device of a location-based service (LBS) user enters or exits a geo-fence, the device receives a generated notification. This notification might contain information about the location of the device. The geofence notice might be sent to a mobile telephone or an email account.
Geofencing, used with child location services, can notify parents when a child leaves a designated area
Geofencing is a critical element to telematics hardware and software. It allows users of the system to draw zones around places of work, customers sites and secure areas. These geo-fences when crossed by an equipped vehicle or person can trigger a warning to the user or operator via SMS or Email.
Other applications include sending an alert if a vehicle is stolen and notifying rangers when wildlife stray into farmland.
Geofencing in a security strategy model provides security to wireless local area networks. This is done by using predefined borders, e.g., an office space with borders established by positioning technology attached to a specially programmed server. The office space becomes an authorized location for designated users and wireless mobile devices.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.
The GPS program provides critical capabilities to military, civil and commercial users around the world. In addition, GPS is the backbone for modernizing the global air traffic system.
The GPS project was developed in 1973 to overcome the limitations of previous navigation systems, integrating ideas from several predecessors, including a number of classified engineering design studies from the 1960s. GPS was created and realized by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and was originally run with 24 satellites. It became fully operational in 1994.
Advances in technology and new demands on the existing system have now led to efforts to modernize the GPS system and implement the next generation of GPS III satellites and Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX). Announcements from the Vice President and the White House in 1998 initiated these changes. In 2000, U.S. Congress authorized the modernization effort, referred to as GPS III.
In addition to GPS, other systems are in use or under development. The Russian GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS) was in use by only the Russian military, until it was made fully available to civilians in 2007. There are also the planned European Union Galileo positioning system, Chinese Compass navigation system, and Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System
Geotagging (also written as GeoTagging) is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as a geotagged photograph or video, websites, SMS messages, QR Codes or RSS feeds and is a form of geospatial metadata. This data usually consists of latitude and longitude coordinates, though they can also include altitude, bearing, distance, accuracy data, and place names.
Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information. For instance, one can find images taken near a given location by entering latitude and longitude coordinates into a suitable image search engine. Geotagging-enabled information services can also potentially be used to find location-based news, websites, or other resources. Geotagging can tell users the location of the content of a given picture or other media or the point of view, and conversely on some media platforms show media relevant to a given location.
The related term geocoding refers to the process of taking non-coordinate based geographical identifiers, such as a street address, and finding associated geographic coordinates (or vice versa for reverse geocoding). Such techniques can be used together with geotagging to provide alternative search techniques.
Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking.
Geocaches are currently placed in over 200 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica, and the International Space Station. After more than 12 years of activity there are over 1.7 million active geocaches published on various websites. There are over 5 million geocachers worldwide.
WEB Feature services
The Open Geospatial Consortium Web Feature Service Interface Standard (WFS) provides an interface allowing requests for geographical features across the web using platform-independent calls. One can think of geographical features as the “source code” behind a map, whereas the WMS interface or online mapping portals like Google Maps return only an image, which end-users cannot edit or spatially analyze. The XML-based GML furnishes the default payload-encoding for transporting the geographic features, but other formats like shapefiles can also serve for transport. In early 2006, the OGC members approved the OpenGIS GML Simple Features Profile. This profile is designed to both increase interoperability between WFS servers and to improve the ease of implementation of the WFS standard.
The OGC membership defined and maintains the WFS specification. There are numerous commercial and open source implementations of the WFS interface standard, including an open source reference implementation, called GeoServer. A comprehensive list of WFS implementations can be found at the OGC Implemention
web Map service
A Web Map Service (WMS) is a standard protocol for serving georeferenced map images over the Internet that are generated by a map server using data from a GIS database. The specification was developed and first published by the Open Geospatial Consortium in 1999.