WEB MAPPING ARCHITECTURES BASED ON OPEN SPECIFICATIONS AND FREE AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE IN THE WATER DOMAIN
The availability of water-related data and information across different geographical and jurisdictional scales is of critical importance for the conservation and management of water resources in the 21 st century. Today information assets are often found fragmented across multiple agencies that use incompatible data formats and procedures for data collection, storage, maintenance, analysis, and distribution. The growing adoption of Web mapping systems in the water domain is reducing the gap between data availability and its practical use and accessibility. Nevertheless, more attention must be given to the design and development of these systems to achieve high levels of interoperability and usability while fulfilling different end user informational needs. This paper first presents a brief overview of technologies used in the water domain, and then presents three examples of Web mapping architectures based on free and open source software (FOSS) and the use of open specifications (OS) that address different users’ needs for data sharing, visualization, manipulation, scenario simulations, and map production. The purpose of the paper is to illustrate how the latest developments in OS for geospatial and water-related data collection, storage, and sharing, combined with the use of mature FOSS projects facilitate the creation of sophisticated interoperable Web-based information systems in the water domain.