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Exploration in the age of Digital Earth

TitleExploration in the age of Digital Earth
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWright, DJ
Pagination1, 8-9
Date PublishedWinter 2006/2007

What might the concept of exploration and the notion of discovery mean to geographers and GIS practitioners today? Exploration of our planet through fieldwork and, hence, discovery of new places is still ongoing, but so is the exploration of environmental databases, even information spaces that do not necessarily include spatial data. Therefore, "discovery" of a place does not necessarily mean having to "be there" in the field. Presented in this context are the themes of data sharing and the benefits thereof in the United States and the emergence of cyberinfrastructures (i.e., the use of high-end information technology in day-to-day activities, not just for the occasional supercomputer job), which are taking hold in basic and applied research and also within the realm of digital government. Under the umbrella of cyberinfrastructures, exciting new research topics are being developed in the areas of Web GIS (e.g., modeling, algorithms, data structures, stability, performance, and other computing issues), ontological libraries and semantic interoperability within Web GIS, and networks of data and metadata clearinghouses that are being built with open-specification Web mapping services and Web feature services.