Sharing Environmental Data with gein ®
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In response to EU Directive 2003/4/EC on Public Access to Environmental Information, public administrations need to provide access to all environmental information available. The German Environmental Information Network (gein®), and the Catalog of Environmental Data Sources (Umweltdatenkatalog - UDK) are tools that support environmental agencies in Germany to comply with the directive. Both of them are currently being merged into a new system, gein® 2.0. This system will feature improved an improved user interface, better capabilities for indexing and searching of online information sources, and an extended access to metainformation-systems and databases. In acknowledgement of the close relation of environmental and geospatial information, gein® 2.0 implements a metadata component (UDK 5.0) that is interoperable with the emerging regional, national, and European spatial data infrastructures due to an implementation of the relevant ISO standards and OGC specifications. In addition, new components for spatial information retrieval and the visualization of spatial information will be added. gein® 2.0 implements a flexible modular system architecture, adaptable database interfaces, and a cascading query propagation. As a result, gein ® 2.0 can be used to build a network of multiple information nodes on different levels of the administrative hierarchy. This may be useful for the integration of information providers on the community level, as required by the EU directive. It is expected that like the UDK, gein ® 2.0 will play a leading role to the process of (meta)data and interface harmonization.