Databank Underground Vlaanderen on the crossroads: Which way to go in order to keep up the sustainable evolution of the integrated web-based geoscientific-portal?

Category Other
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author De Nil, Katrien; Boel, Koenraad; De Rouck, Tinne; Van Damme, Marleen; Vanthournout, Linsey; Vanwesenbeeck, Veerle; Vergauwen, Ilse
Holding Date 07 October 2008

The database for the subsoil of Flanders (’Databank Ondergrond Vlaanderen - DOV’) has been established in 1996 within the Ministry of the Flemish Community. Today it is a cooperation between three divisions, namely the Geotechnics Division, the Division of Land and Soil Protection, Subsoil and Natural Resources and the Water Division, all part of the Flemish Government. Representatives of the three partners take place in the Supporting Centre, which is responsible for the follow-up of all the operational tasks and projects. A Steering Committee consisting of the general managers and division heads of the participants determines the policy and activities of DOV.
DOV aims to be the overall database compiling and offering (sub)soil information of Flanders. Data types today are amongst others drillings, cone penetration tests, ground water monitoring networks and ground water abstraction licences and different (sub)soil maps. These data are, free of charges, accessible on the web-site In 2003, DOV has started a migration project of the original fat-client structure to a sustainable web-based architecture. Today, the project has a new, stable environment based on a jsp-Viewer, which communicates through ArcIMS with the ArcSDE-database. Data are accessible in different ways: on the one hand DOV exchanges data through web services with other divisions within the government and on the other hand the application offers the clients real time data on the web. Maintaining a good performance for this web-application was of major concern and a great ordeal for the Supporting Centre, in order to keep up the intensive use of the website.
Although the subsoil database is never complete and IT is an ever evolving business, DOV has now reached a stable point concerning content, reliability and architecture of the database. Nevertheless DOV stands on a crossing point and has to decide which direction to go in order to keep up with future trends. On the one hand user requirements and a satisfaction survey should help us to map the needs and desires in terms of offered data, derived maps and 3D-models, visualisation and reporting tools. On the other hand upcoming European legislation rises questions: INSPIRE imposes interoperability and integration of spatial information which creates great opportunities for the European GIS-community. Our current services surely will be affected by the Implementation Rules now being drafted. The remaining questions are ’How big will the implications be’ and ’How will these future changes affect the now offered services’? INSPIRE as well as our own inquiry will strongly affect the DOV future, and drastic reformation is not excluded. Not the services DOV offers to the public will change, but the way this will be done. If we want to keep up, our work starts today.