Progress beyond the state-of-the-art

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer application designed to perform a wide range of operations on geographic information. Geographic information is information about items on, above, or below the earth’s surface and may be organized in a variety of ways. A GIS includes functions to input, store, visualize, export, and analyze such information. The scientific applications of GISs are found in any discipline that deals with phenomena distributed over the surface of the Earth, ranging from meteorology to transportation.

A GIS is based on a spatial database system (SDBS). In order to support spatial objects in a database system several important issues must be taken into account such as: spatial data models, indexing mechanisms and efficient query processing. An SDBS is a database system that offers spatial data types in its data model and query language and supports spatial data types in its implementation, providing at least spatial indexing and efficient spatial query processing. Spatial database systems has been an active area of research over the past twenty years. Within the proposed project, several of the issues addressed by such research will arise and, especially, modeling of all the kinds of environmental information mentioned in the previous section, as well as, efficient processing of queries related to static and/or changing data for providing services related to environmental issues to authorities, investors and individual citizens. It is expected that the complexity of real demands will unveil issues that have not been covered adequately by past research and novel methods and solution will be needed. Due to space limitations, it is impossible to review all the past related research efforts. However, several review articles and books have appeared in the literature that summarize such efforts. We mention just a few representative ones.

  • Philippe Rigaux, Michel O. Scholl, Agnès Voisard, Spatial databases: with application to GIS, Morgan Kaufmann, 2002.
  • V. Gandhi, J. M. Kang, S. Shekhar, Spatial Databases, Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering, Wiley, Cassie Craig (Eds.), 2009.
  • Several articles related to spatial data and to GIS in the “Encyclopedia of Database Systems”, Liu, Ling; Özsu, M. Tamer (Eds.), Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (2009).
  • "Spatial Databases: Technologies, Techniques and Trends", Y. Manolopoulos, A. Papadopoulos and M. Vassilakopoulos Eds.), Idea Group Publishing (2005).
  • Corral & M. Vassilakopoulos, Query Processing in Spatial Databases, Handbook of Research on Innovations in Database Technologies and Applications: Current and Future Trends, Vol II, Information Science Reference (2009), 269-278.