Title: Environmental Data Exchange for Inland Water
Publisher: Elsevier
Publication Year: 2006
JRC N°: JRC35852
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC35852
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This article gives an overall introduction to the book: Environmental Data Exchange Network for Inland Water. In a world where computing power, storage capacity and network size all tend to grow exponentially, exchange of data is growing at a similar rate. From a purely informationtechnology point of view, any data packet sent over the network is exchange of data, and is thus linked to the overall network traffic. Searching the Web for relevant information has become commonplace; indeed, it is at times difficult to imagine how cumbersome the search for information was before the World Wide Web. It is amazing to see the ease with which it is now possible to search for and find, for instance, telephone numbers, addresses, flight information and scientific publications (just to mention a few). However, for other types of data, the search is more difficult and has yet to realise the full potential of the full data exchange. On the philosophical level, one could speculate that the exchange of document information through the World Wide Web has been so successful due to the fact that the HyperText Markup language (HTML) was invented at the same time as the first browsers became operational and that the protocol and the language were so simple and easy to use. For data held in databases, this was not the case, with different standards and proprietary software already in place on stand-alone computers, making data exchange an inherently difficult problem. These general problems on data exchange are also relevant for data exchange in the environmental field, especially in the field of Inland Water. For the environmental topic of surface water, one additional physical characteristic is fundamental: water runs downhill (!) Environmental data for one water body upstream of another is therefore always relevant and allows the inference of some scientific and technical information about the water body downstream. With this in mind, the Environmental Data Exchange Network for Inland Water (EDEN-IW) project was started, aiming to facilitate and increase data exchange. The perspectives and the visions of the needs are that a citizen or a user, including policy makers, needs to be able to get rapid answers to environmental questions on inland waters, without any knowledge about what data sources might be available or how to connect to them. The questions may range from global to continental, from national to local, following political boundaries or catchment areas as required. In principle, a large number of existing Inland Water databases in the world could be linked together, providing citizens with access to a worldwide inland water database, together with tools to assess the information and regulate the inland water environment in a more efficient and effective way than in the current situation. A key driving force for the project was to meet the needs and expectations of high-quality affordable services related to environmental data, initially on the Inland Water field, but with perspectives and visions that include more general information related to the environment. The goals of the project with an integrative approach as a fundamental point of departure are well adapted to the requirements for policy issues in areas where the information society technologies, by nature, require close co-ordination with various research programmes and where the deployment plays a critical role. The challenges were and are significant. Previous experience, relevant technologies and technological advancements had to be examined, leading to research and development of specific information technology solutions.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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