HyperGIS: A concept and its applications
Frank C Chang, University of Florida, United States
University of Florida . Awarded
To envision HyperGIS—and what HyperGIS can achieve—is to work at the intersections of GIS, the middleware and agent technology, the object-oriented approach and the integrated user interface design. This dissertation defines and describes HyperGIS as a more efficient and reliable approach for access to heterogeneous spatial data in the rapid-changing information age.
Based on a review of the evolution of GIS and client/server networking technology, this research first investigates current approaches used to access spatial information and their limitations in terms of accessibility, efficiency and reliability. The dissertation outlines the needs for a new approach to devise a future GIS, then introduces the concept and components of HyperGIS. Based on a new arrangement for converging and emerging technologies, HyperGIS uses agent technology to deliver directory service, abstraction service, messaging service and work-flow service. This approach is better than the previous approaches because it is capable of accessing broader data sources that are dynamic and heterogeneous in a more efficient and reliable way.
To demonstrate the capabilities of HyperGIS, a GIS providing Lake Okeechobee status information was implemented using the centralized, the client-server, the CGI, and eventually the HyperGIS methods. The development shows an evolving process in search of new technologies to meet the increasing challenges of the real world. The stages of implementation process for each method are explained, complimented by the system diagrams and genuine code listings.
The investigation supports the hypothesis that HyperGIS allows more effective heterogeneous information access. Overall, its directory service offers a registry where required services can be conveniently located. The use of abstraction service simplifies the process of GIS development by hiding technical details from developers and users. In addition, messaging service enables communications between client and server to be more reliable; workflow service introduces true two-way interactivity to a spatial information system where an agent can act provocatively and adaptively.
Although there are obstacles and resistance to the adoption of HyperGIS due to social factors, initial costs and short-term performance concerns, the collective indications of many current integration efforts clearly point toward the direction where HyperGIS will eventually prevail. Because HyperGIS advocates a greater accessibility to massive spatial information, its adoption will evidently lead to the empowerment of previously information-poor sectors that do not have much access to the technology. As a result, the digital divide between the information rich and the information poor will be narrowed.
Chang, F.C. HyperGIS: A concept and its applications. Ph.D. thesis, University of Florida.
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