Geographic information

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Geographic information is the information about geographical phenomena that is directly or indirectly connected to a position related to the earth . (DIN ISO 19101). Geographic information is represented by the spatial data encoded by characters . These represent a form of soil-related data that can be processed by computers.

The somewhat vague term “geoinformation” was coined in the 1980s (in the German-speaking area, among others, at the geoscientific conferences AGIT and GeoLIS ) and became more widespread in the early 1990s. It corresponds to the English "geospatial" and can best be specified with "spatial information".

“Geoinformation” was first used as a catchphrase in surveying , geography and cartography , and then also penetrated the other geosciences . With the establishment of the German Umbrella Association for Geoinformation (DDGI) in 1994 and its Austrian counterpart AGEO (Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Geoinformation), it was quickly spread. Since around 2000, numerous institutions have changed or expanded their names using "geographic information". Examples of this are the state survey offices of Bavaria (now: State Office for Digitization, Broadband and Surveying ), Hesse (now: Hessian Administration for Land Management and Geoinformation ) and Thuringia (initially: Thuringian State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation , since January 1, 2019: Thuringian State Office for Soil Management and Geoinformation ) or the Institute for Topography and Cartography at the University of Bonn (now: Institute for Cartography and Geoinformation ). Degree courses at universities have also included the designation "geoinformation", for example in the fields of study geodesy and geoinformation .

In Germany, the Geodata Access Act (Act on Access to Digital Geodata - GeoZG) came into force in 2009 . The law serves to set up a national spatial data infrastructure. It creates the legal framework for access to geodata, geodata services and metadata from agencies that hold geospatial data (“agencies of the federal government and of federal legal entities under public law”) and the use of these data and services, especially for measures that have an impact on the environment can have.

Scientific associations deal with the subject of geographic information, such as the German Society for Cartography (DGfK), the German Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (DGPF) and the German Association for Surveying (DVW).

Economical meaning

Until the end of the 20th century, (printed) maps , especially topographical, geographical or thematic maps, were the only medium to document (spatial) objects and facts on the earth's surface and to illustrate their complex relationships. With the advent of information and communication technology with its digital techniques, computer-aided processes and high-performance data storage devices, a spectacular change has occurred. It has led to spatial data (geodata) being digitally stored in databases and various forms of application, e.g. B. information, graphic or pictorial presentations, cartographic representations can be developed. This enables a great development and use of geospatial information.

Due to its digital representation and easy portability on data carriers or on the Internet , geographic information has become an economic asset and has gained great economic importance. Numerous companies have been founded that are dedicated to the acquisition, processing and refinement of geographic information and trading with them. It was quickly recognized that, above all, the easy exchange and use of geospatial data were limited by numerous obstacles such as area restrictions, inhomogeneities and data format differences. This affected not only the data of private companies, but also the geographic information of the official surveying and mapping.

For this reason, the Interministerial Committee for Geoinformation (IMAGI) was set up in 1998 under the leadership of the Federal Minister of the Interior, in order to improve the coordination of geoinformation within the federal administration. As of 2001, initiated by the DDGI, the German Bundestag had dealt with the topic of geoinformation several times. In 2004 the " Commission for Geoinformation Management" (GIW Commission) was set up at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology . It is staffed with representatives from the business world and is supposed to develop measures to activate the market potential of geographic information in an industry-oriented and supraregional manner and thereby increase the added value of geographic information. In Baden-Württemberg alone, the Ministry of Science sees 15,000 new jobs in the geographic information sector in the next few years.

See also

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