Along with the progress of computer networks and the popular use of the Internet,
distributed geographic information services and Internet mapping facilities
have emerged as primary research areas in geographic information science (GIScience).
The need for global access to and decentralized management of geographic information
is pushing the geography community to deploy a distributed geographic information
service (GIService) architecture on the Internet. However, current research
mainly focuses on data interoperability and ad-hoc technique-centered solutions
without considering the uniqueness of on-line spatial information and the
distribution of geographic information systems (GIS) processes.