Reports and Papers

Fedra, K. (1997)
Integrated Environmental Information Systems: from data to information. In: N.B. Harmancioglu, M.N. Alpaslan, S.D.Ozkul, and V.P. Singh [eds.]: Integrated Approach to Environmental Data Management Systems, 367-378. Kluwer, Dordrecht.


Environmental problems are almost always spatially distributed and dynamic, and are characterized by the complexity of the underlying processes. Environmental data can either be of very high density and volume, for example, from automatic monitoring equipment or remote sensing instruments, or rather sparse and with a high sampling error, if resulting from traditional sampling methods and analytical procedures.

To be useful for the support planning and decision making processes, environmental data have to be transformed into information that meets the requirements of these processes. Environmental planning and decision making requires the integration of large volumes of often disparate and multi-format information from numerous sources; the analysis of this information with complex tools and models for assessment and evaluation; and effective methods of communication of results that also allow broad, interactive participation in the planning, assessment, and decision making process.

Information systems based on the object-oriented integration of GIS with data base management, remote sensing and image processing, simulation and optimization models, expert systems, and decision support tools, provide some of the elements to effectively support environmental planning and management. GIS can provide a common framework through georeferencing information, and an easily understandable presentation style in the form of topical maps, linked to functional objects that use various models. Modern information technology, and in particular multi-media applications accessible through the Internet hold promise of fulfilling many of the goals set out in UNCED Agenda 21, chapter 40, Information for Decision Making.

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