The progressive consolidation of information technologies on a large scale has been facilitating and progressively increasing the production, collection, and diffusion of geographic data, as well as facilitating the integration of a large amount of external information into geographic information systems (GIS). Traditional GIS is transforming into a consolidated information infrastructure. This consolidated infrastructure is affecting more and more aspects of internet computing and services. Most popular systems (such as social networks, GPS, and decision support systems) involve complex GIS and significant amounts of information. As a web service, GIS is affected by exactly the same problems that affect the web as a whole. Therefore, next generation GIS solutions have to address further methodological and data engineering challenges in order to accommodate new applications’ extended requirements (in terms of scale, interoperability, and complexity). The conceptual and semantic modeling of GIS, as well as the integration of semantics into current GIS, provide highly expressive environments that are capable of meeting the needs and requirements of a wide range of applications.
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