Intelligent Geo-Information Systems (IGIS) for Water Resources Planning and Management
Most of the concepts and actual data presented in this paper are the result of a recently finished joint research project at Aachen University of Technology. The main goal of this project was to identify domains of high application potential for knowledge-based systems (KBS) in water resources planning and management for the benefit of water resources protection. For this purpose, a state-of-the-art review, a system analysis, a rigorous demand investigation, and a feasibility study were carried out. In addition, a basic system concept (hardware and software) for fulfilling the requirements of the application domain was outlined. The literature review led to the identification of 55 related KBS application proejcts. To analyze the demand for KBS in the water resources field, about 2000 questionnaires were distributed (with an extraordinary response rate of more than 15%), and 30 in-depth interviews were carried out with experts in the field. The results, which are summarized in this paper, include information about the state of computer application, frequently occurring problems, and the attitude towards knowledge processing technology among practitioning engineers. Moreover, the interviews led to the identification of more than thirty possible application scenarios. Three of those being considered both most promising and thematically interrelated were chosen as pilot-scenarios for the feasibility analysis.
Common user requirements for knowledge-based systems in the domain of water resources protection are: these tools should be economical, i.e. not “overloaded,” extendable, compatible among each other and, above all, capable of being integrated into the existing and well-established computational “world.” Therefore, the creation of water resources KBS should be coordinated by means of a common development basis. Taking this into account, the basic system concept, as outlined during the project, features a generic knowledge base for water resources problems. This knowledge base contains and structures objected-oriented representations for general water resources entities and their interrelations (object-oriented data base concept). The generic knowledge base can serve as a common development platform for application and problem-specific knowledge processing tools. Moreover, with respect to the requirements of full integration into the conventional data processing world, an object-oriented approach was chosen for the linkage of application-specific KBS components with a GIS, an interactive graphics user environment, and an object-oriented data base corresponding with frame-based KBS components. The result of this concept which is discussed within this paper is an “Intelligent Geo-Information System” (1015) for water resources applications. The feasibility of the system concept was investigated by a professional computer consulting company with special attention to the application-specific requirements of the pilot scenarios. The final evaluation of the system feasibility was positive. In order to illustrate the system concept and its application potential, a demonstration prototype was developed on a hypermedia and micro basis.
KeywordsWater Resource Application Scenario System Concept Knowledge Processing Water Resource Planning
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