Chapter 10

Spatial Data Management in GIS and the Coupling of GIS and Environmental Models

Ezio Crestaz

10.1 Introduction

GIS provides basic and advanced [1, 2] features, enabling the implementation of simple chemical fate and transport models, suitable for a broad range of practical problems. Dedicated modeling environments further extend traditional GIS capabilities, adding support for pre- and postprocessing of complex models, three-dimensional (3D) and time-dependent visualization, and analysis, embedding stochastic and numerical simulation engines, and providing specialized calibration tools. Environmental data collected through remote sensors or at ground stations in the framework of site characterization and/or monitoring programs are key to effective model conceptualization, calibration, and postaudit validation. Several applications demand detailed site specific data, in order to provide a comprehensive two-dimensional/three-dimensional (2D/3D) spatiotemporal description of ongoing chemical processes. Long time series of input data concerning concentration emissions support the modeler in assigning realistic boundary and internal conditions.

Despite the relevance of observed data and their economic value, most GIS and advanced modeling systems traditionally provided (and still provide) their own file-system storage options, rather than being based on mature database technology. Performance-optimized binary files resulted in the emergence of de facto standards, such as ...

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