Geographic Information System and SuperGIS Server
Recently, the Geographical Information System (abbreviated in GIS) industry has been significantly growing up. Due to the occurrence of huge natural disasters in recent years, such as hurricane Katrina, Indian Ocean tsunami, etc., the related units start to apply GIS, GPS and satellite image to assist in disaster rescue. However, in the present GIS market, users who want to apply GIS technologies to analyze need to spend a huge cost on purchasing software and digital data to develop GIS applications. In addition, after developing applications, users have to keep the availability of data and maintain the system. It really takes a lot of manpower and costs on such building process for the enterprise users whose core business is not GIS field.
Besides, the files in different formats might not be shared and interoperated among organizations when the files are used for cross-platform. Therefore, only through establishing the international industry standards and protocols and proposing new system architectures, application technologies and service modes under the standards, the bottleneck of the existing GIS industry development and the obstacle of application aspect can really be solved to create a diversified and larger GIS market.
Nowadays, many GIS companies start to implement the architecture and concepts of Web Services to GIS applications and call GIS applications in accordance with the Internet Protocol. Therefore, the GIS applications can provide organizations spatial data display, analysis, etc. Organizations can not only effectively save the cost on the purchase and maintenance but also keep the availability of GIS data.
This kind of solution that provides the common GIS functions for Web Services can be applied to construct a distributed structure system. It also carries out the advantages of distributed structure, such as dynamic integration, load balance, unit upgrade, etc., and achieves the on-demand service of geographic information and functions. In terms of the establishment of LBS (Location-Based Service) contents, the supplier can only focus on the production of the contents. Furthermore, with the performance of 3G and Web is getting enhanced, the on-demand geographic information and services are easier to be offered via the Internet.
The GIS technology has been developed over twenty years. Let’s review the information and technologies applied to GIS. The features of GIS technology are divided into four stages.
- Stand-alone system is the feature of this stage and the data which need to be integrated must be placed in the same machine.
- Due to lower price and higher performance of personal computers (PC), the stage is featured that the drawing works, which consume more system resources, can be transferred to the PC platform to operate.
- With the matured Client-Server and Internet technologies, the breaking representative of GIS technology in this stage becomes Web GIS, embeddable GIS objects and the Spatial Database Engine.
- The information technology has evolved in two aspects in this stage, one is the appearance and formation of the new Internet technology and specifications, and the other is the enhancement of wireless transmission technology and the computing capability of mobile devices. The feature of GIS technology in this stage is that Internet service has replaced the add-on GIS assemblies and can integrate the geographic information services of different sources under the common standard.
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is the key concept entering stage D. Web Services is the technology which applies SOA the most. With the development of Internet, the so-called Cloud Computing concept, one of the key points in GIS development, comes out in the IT industry. This concept is the expansions of SOA technology and Web Services and is also the foundation for every IT company to develop new technology.
SuperGIS Server is the software that follows the concepts of SOA technologies and Web Services to integrate GIS data, GIS application functions and services to server. SuperGIS Server provides end users the needed GIS applications and services, such as GIS data managements, visualization applications and spatial analysis. Users can use SuperGIS, SuperPad or other web applications to connect to the server host that has SuperGIS Server installed through the Internet and then obtain the data or services provided by the server. As a result, organizations can significantly reduce the cost on purchase and maintenance to achieve the goals of sharing spatial data.