Geoweb Services and Open Online Data Repositories for North West Himalayas Studies Including Disaster Monitoring and Mitigation
With recent advancements in wireless communications and Internet technology during the last decade, it is promising to develop many citizen-centric new applications and services in various fields including spatial information technology. The users of geospatial technology have started to use online GIS (geographic information system) for a variety of applications by using web services and online data repositories. Internet today has emerged as one of the most suitable and quickest means for accessing, analyzing, displaying, and transmitting the geographical information and geographic knowledge. It is perhaps the only means which maximizes the potential of GIS data and software application for wider and easier access of geographical data to the planners and decision-makers. The World Wide Web, FTP (file transfer protocol), and HTTP programs make it convenient to access and transfer data files across the Internet. Internet technology in conjunction with GIS today in crisis situations allows geospatial information coming from multiple sources to be integrated in real time, interactively accessed and visualized to generate accurate and quick actionable information for emergency response teams coordinating the activity. Today the distributed and heterogeneous resources and data services can be accessed through a centralized and uniform interface using GIS-based web portals (Karnatak et al. 2007; Karnatak et al. 2012). Considering the different types of disasters varying from natural to man-made having diverse data requirements, a single GIS web service may not be sufficient enough to handle all requirements, and therefore specifically the web GIS-based portals available in the Internet are generally customized and developed for a particular theme keeping in mind a specific class of user(s). The availability of international data and information service standards published by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is playing an important role to achieve interoperability in data and information sharing. GIS service standards published by OGC are based on distributed service-oriented architectures (SOA). Such systems unify distributed services through a message-oriented architecture by using Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). The data and information services available through web portal applications have great scope of its massive utilization at user’s end. Many GIS-based plans for a variety of applications can be developed using available GIS-based web services (also known as Geoweb services) and online data repositories. Some of the major advantages of Geoweb services and online data repositories include dynamic and updated data, real-time and multiuser access, and development of user-defined applications using mashup architecture (Karnatak et al. 2012). This approach is quite useful for the applications where real-time dynamic data is required for planning and decision-making such as disaster or emergency management.
This document is a compilation specifically intended for enhancing knowledge on freely available geospatial information on open-source domain which could be used by decision-makers for disaster mitigation. The data content is compiled from various web sources and all the resources considered are gratefully acknowledged.
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