Environmental Information Systems – an IOSB research service

Environmental Information Systems

Environmental Information Systems (EIS) of today's characteristic must take into account the technical dependencies between environmental phenomena from different fields to assist the responsible experts and authorities in handling of complex and interdisciplinary questions. An example is the assessment of the groundwater situation in the context of industrial contamination.

In addition to the coordination effort on the purely technical level, this is also a challenge to the applied information and communication technology. Therefore it is essential to create an IT architecture which is most appropriate in terms of

  • taking networking into account
  • being open for future extensions,
  • allowing economical further development and
  • integrating existing databases and specialist systems.

Solution principle

The responsibilities of the environmental administrations of the federal states overlap. In development cooperation projects such as KEWA/Inovum (a research and development process for the implementation of "Innovative Environmental Information Systems", which has been supported by the Federal Environment Ministry since 1994) or VKoopUIS (a cooperation for the joint implementation of projects in the field of environmental information systems, which has been concluded between the Federal Environment Ministry and the environment ministries of the states since 2001), synergies can be used for economic and progressive development.

Within the framework of these development cooperations, among other things, the Fraunhofer IOSB designs and develops a variety of versions of environmental information systems with hundreds of users, taking into account synergies within the WaterFrame® product family.

XCNF (eXtensible Data-base Application CoNFigurator) forms a common basis for the specialist information systems. The domain-independent tool supports the creation of flexible and personalised user views of database contents via data model-driven development. XCNF enables environmental authorities to select and summarise their environmental data collected in monitoring networks or interactively, to visualise it in UIS in various forms (e.g. as mask, table, map or diagram) and to exchange it with other systems.

Open geo-services architectures

The further development of UIS is increasingly being driven by European directives (e.g. INSPIRE geo and environmental data directive), which requires the conception of interdisciplinary, open systems. Fraunhofer IOSB is actively involved in the conception of open geo-services architectures (e.g. for the OGC SensorThings API). The SensorThings API is a lightweight IoT standard of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) for providing time and georeferenced sensor or observation data. This standard is well suited for publishing data from UIS monitoring networks. Fraunhofer IOSB offers with FROST® an open source implementation of the standard, which can easily be coupled with XCNF or WaterFrame® applications.

Department ILT of Fraunhofer IOSB

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