CORBA-Based Interoperable Geographic Information Systems

Hans-Arno Jacobsen and A. Voisard.

In Euro Parallel and Distributed Systems Conference, pages 206-211, Vienna, April 1998.


A new generation of geographic information systems (GIS) emphasizing an open architecture, interoperability, and extensibility in their design has received a great deal of attention in research and industry over the past few years. The key idea behind these systems is to move away from the traditional monolithic view in system engineering, to an open design embracing many co-existing distributed (sub)-systems, such as database management systems (DBMS), statistic packages, computational geometry libraries and even traditional GIS. While some success has been achieved in the area of geospatial data integration (data models and formats), it is still unclear what common services these open GIS should provide and how their design would benefit from available distributed computing infrastructures. This latter question is especially interesting with regard to the increasing attention that object-oriented distributed computing infrastructures have received recently in the community. In this paper, we describe a generic open GIS with an emphasis on the services it should provide. We then study the design of such a system based on object services and features provided by the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). We also report on the use of the CORBA platform for implementing a fully-operational distributed open GIS. We conclude by arguing for a closer integration of GIS functionality into the CORBA architecture, as already done for the medical and financial domains.


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