what: environmental protection is an interdisciplinary task that crosses large areas. Employing the latest advances in informatics, a new application system has been developed for providing detailed information on the environment preservation of the county of Osnabrück in Germany. The new system, named ‘region in the net’, aims at intensifying collaboration and data exchange between the county and its communities and municipalities that will eventually lead to better and more effective environmental planning.
how it works: the ‘region in the net’ is a regional environmental information application system. The application allows access to a central GIS (Geographical Information System), called ALK-Giap, for importing data on the web. The retrieved data is in the form of AED graphics, a type of graphics that allows the full integration of the geographical data into the specialised system. In addition, it offers many advantages such as efficient use and representation of the base data as well as their linkage with the respective data of the application. With the aid of the specialised ‘region in the net’ application, the maps are converted into PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format for enhanced graphic file import support. Using database queries, the maps are linked to reference information, including geographical co-ordinates.
Without any programming requirements and by using any commercially available web browser, the user can explore environmental information quickly and easily. Currently, the information provided involves a wide range of aspects concerning nature and wildlife reserve areas, water quality, soil usage and quality, and forest damage. Apart from making environmental data available to the public, the ‘region in the net’ system is expected to help experts in environmental planning and control to handle environmental problems in a modern computer-supported way.
benefits: effective environmental protection and planning are among the primary concerns of politicians and administrators. For this reason, a trans-regional interdisciplinary and spatial approach is necessary.
In a first step the system provides information to citizens based on the obligations stipulated in the German "Environment Information Law" (e.g. nature and wildlife reserve areas, water quality, soil usage and quality, forest damage). The end user approach concentrates on easy navigation through dynamically generated maps with the possibility to access textual data via the concept of hotspots or clickable images. Additional links to pictures are included if possible. The fields of application of this system are: environmental monitoring, environmental systems analysis, waste management (non-radioactive), wildlife conservation, and administrative data processing.