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A New and Flexible Architecture for the German Environmental Information Network

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Masaryk University Brno


Since the year 2000, the German Environmental Information Network gein® provides access to government-owned environmental information of 15 German federal states and the German federal government. In response to the new requirements for public access to environmental information based on EU-directive 2003/4/EC, gein® currently undergoes a complete technical re-design. The resulting new software (InGrid 1.0) will be used to build Portal-U, an improved central information portal which replaces gein®. In addition, InGrid offers state- and municipal authorities a tool to set up their own information portals and to construct a flexible network of interconnected information nodes. This new technical infrastructure is needed to include, as required by the EU-directive, a much larger number of providers of environmental information, including agencies on the local level. It is also needed to be able to provide better access to environmental information that is not yet online or belongs to the so-called “hidden web”. To support direct access to environmental data and metadata, the new system architecture features distributed indices based on highly adaptable database interfaces and a self-administrating P2P communication infrastructure. A number of standardized interfaces, including a web catalog service conforming to OGC standards, enable Portal-U and other information nodes in the network to benefit from and contribute to other data infrastructures, like the German national geodata infrastructure (GDI-DE) and INSPIRE.


Vögele, homas; Klenke, Martin; Kruse, Fred; Groschupf, Stefan (2005): A New and Flexible Architecture for the German Environmental Information Network. Informatics for Environmental Protection - Networking Environmental Information. Brno: Masaryk University Brno. Environmental information systems engineering. Brno. 2005