Project Overview

Project Introduction
Project Objective

Project Task
Technical Issue
Market Phasing

Data Warehousing

Interactive Mapping

Analytical Tools

Image Overlay
Image Swipe
Image Magnifier
Image Processing

Image Viewing
Panoramic Image

Research Staff

Questionnaire I

Questionnaire II


This project is affiliated with several on-going ARC projects which support the Environmental Monitoring Focus Area being developed at San Diego State University in response to NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) Focus area program for ARC Universities. This project seeks to enhance the utility of remote sensing data by developing Web-based data warehousing, on-line mapping tools and analytic functions. These services will be provided through user subscription and linked to shared data bases. The ability to conduct real-time analysis of web-based geospatial data sets has innumerable applications, offering potential value to users of remote sensing data and GIS everywhere. The great power of GIS and remote sensing, after all, lies in its analytic capabilities, despite its more common use to generate eye-pleasing maps. This project responds to a long-term need expressed by participants in regional programs for natural habitat conservation. Implementation of tools for spatial analysis using geo-spatial data on the Internet would simultaneously provide several functions expressly desired by users:

1. Provide the foundation for a much-needed data warehouse for efficient storage and access of spatially explicit information on regional habitat preserves;

2. Provide interactive Web-based mapping facilities for displaying remote sensing images and geo-spatial data for natural habitat management;

3. Facilitate data sharing across subregions, thus enabling monitoring activities and analysis at the system-wide, regional scale;

4. Facilitate cost-sharing, through data sharing and sharing of analytic tools;

5. Provide preserve managers and monitors with the ability to perform the critical real-time analysis that is essential to tracking habitat conditions and the status of preserves.

The goal of this project is to develop the capabilities for multiple users to conduct real-time analyses over the Internet using web-based software and geo-spatial data sets. This goal will be achieved through four objectives:

1. Establish a web site test-bed and load it with two anniversary date image data sets of a selected preserve site in the San Diego region for testing the functions of a data warehouse.

2. Establish an Internet map server in the same Web site to provide interactive Web-based mapping tools for the regional preserve management community.

3. Develop algorithms that perform on-line analytic functions on the data.

4. Develop modularized software packages that can provide graphic user interfaces to access the web-based data and algorithms.

5. Test the prototype application for ease of use and utility through hands-on use by real users from the regional preserve management community.

1. To design and develop a user friendly and intuitive web site, which will meet the criteria identified by the sponsor

2. Define and document the logical procedures and graphical elements which will allow for image processing and function analysis through a web interface.

3. Customize the ArcIMS and data warehousing user interface

4. Develop a functional web site prototype within the project timeline

This project addresses three technical issues, to be resolved through three major tasks:

1. To establish a regional data warehouse for natural habitat data, current Web technology can provide the mechanisms for data exchange and download by File Transfer Protocol (FTP) or HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The design of a data warehouse will focus on the implementation of Web-based user interface and methods to organize data sets in this data warehouse. For example, natural habitat data sets can be organized by theme-based layers or location-based tilts. Different types of data schemes can be applied in the design of the data warehouse to facilitate the sharing and exchange of geo-spatial data sets and remote sensing images.

2. To establish an Internet map server, this project will adopt a leading GIS package, ArcIMS, developed by ESRI, currently the leading GIS vendor. Advantages of adopting ArcIMS are its compatibility of with GIS/Remote Sensing data sets and its comprehensive mapping functions. ArcIMS can access ESRI shapefiles directly or ARC/INFO coverages via ArcSDE (Spatial Database Engine). Currently, most GIS datasets for our prototype application are in coverage or shapefile format. Also, ArcIMS can provide comprehensive functions for on-line mapping and customizable tools for adding new GIS functions.

3. To develop on-line analytic functions and software, there are two possible approaches: server-side applications or client-side applications. The server-side application will access data directly from the GIS or remote sensing database. The client-side application will access data remotely via a Web browser, or access the local data stored in a Web cache. Available program languages on the client side (Web browser) include Java or Active X controls. A Java platform is preferred because of its interoperability with different client environments (such as Windows 2000 or UNIX). The server side programming language might be more flexible, depending on the configuration of server platforms. With a UNIX server, the programming language could be C++ or Java, while with a Windows platform, the language could be Visual Basic or Java. One consideration in choosing the development platform is that the language should provide database connectivity and network communication to access GIS databases and remote sensing images.

We have determined there is a demand for this class of services through working closely with natural habitat preserve managers for several years. Our needs assessments conducted with these users repeatedly reveal the desire for cost-effective tools to monitor habitats. The combined powers of data collection through remote sensing and on-line, geo-spatial analysis through the Internet can significantly reduce the high cost and labor of field monitoring.

Although Southern California’s habitat conservation programs provide a ready test-market for this service, the potential market for these tools extends far beyond the regional community of natural habitat preserve managers. The need to monitor natural preserves using simple change detection methods is worldwide, and is fundamental to cost-effective management practices.

The Web-based mapping facilities proposed in this research can be integrated with wireless devices and Gobal Positioning Systems (GPS) in the future. With the progress of mobile computing and wireless communication, natural habitat preserve managers and scientists can access the Internet map servers via their mobile devices, such as Pocket PCs, Notebooks, or Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) during their field trips. The monitor and change detection of natural habitat areas can be accomplished in real time by integrating GPS, wireless communication, and Internet Mapping facilities. Also, distributed field workers can update the changes of natural habitat areas or create a new item by sending back their results in graphics to the Web map servers.

Moreover, these simple change detection tools and related capabilities extend to monitoring and management of resources other than natural habitat preserves, such as agricultural production and forestry. Specific recommendations for marketing to the larger share of users will be provided through a marketing study prepared by SDSU’s Business School as a part of this project.

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