Accessing diverse geo-referenced data sources with the SAND spatial DBMS

TitleAccessing diverse geo-referenced data sources with the SAND spatial DBMS
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSankaranarayanan J, Tanin E, Samet H, Brabec F
Conference NameProceedings of the 2003 annual national conference on Digital government research
Date Published2003///
PublisherDigital Government Society of North America

The Internet has become the most frequently accessed medium for obtaining various types of data. In particular, government agencies, academic institutions, and private enterprises have published gigabytes of geo-referenced data on the Web. However, to obtain geo-referenced data from the Web successfully, systems must be designed to be capable of understanding the data sets published in different data formats. Also, even if the data sets are available in a simple known format, they often have poorly defined structures. With these issues in mind, we have developed an Internet-enabled data collection and conversion utility that interfaces with our prototype spatial database system, SAND. Using this utility, data can be retrieved from many different sources on the Web and converted into a format understandable by the SAND spatial database management system. Our collection and conversion utility is able to import the most popular data formats; namely, ESRI Shapefiles, Microsoft Excel files, HTML files, and GML files. Data in unstructured formats are verified for correct selection of the data types and handling of missing tuples before the insertion operation into the database. Moreover, our utility makes it possible to download any nonspatial data set and combine it internally with a relevant spatial data set. These features are accessible through a spreadsheet-like interface for online editing and structuring of data.