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GIS Web Services

  • By: Anders Friis-Christensen
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Geographic information system (GIS) Web services represent an evolution of traditional standalone GIS applications available in desktop environments with database back-ends for storing data, and they provide the components for a spatial data infrastructure (SDI). GIS Web services are self-contained application components that are published and accessed over the World Wide Web using standard protocols such as HTTP, SOAP, and XML. Each service performs a specific GIS function as part of a loosely coupled and distributed geographic application (also called a distributed GIS).

The functionalities provided by GIS Web services can be classified into four basic categories—geographic data discovery, access, computation, and visualization—which are described in the following sections. Additional functionality is required to orchestrate the interaction among several services in order to provide specific applications. ...

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