application programming interface (API): A computer application talks to the operating system via the API.
The Alexandria Digital Library (ADL) is a distributed digital library with collections of georeferenced materials. ADL includes the operational library (collections of georeferenced materials), and the research program through which digital library architectures, gazetteer (placename and location service) applications, educational applications, and software components are modeled, prototyped, and evaluated.
client-side vs. server side: Web pages are displayed in your browser on your local machine. Just like a customer or client for a restaurant, you and your browser are a client using a Web site. The machine where the Web site actually resides is called a Web server. When you send a request for a Web page by entering a Web site address, this request is sent to a Web Server. The Web server then sends the Web page to your browser. The interesting thing about a Web server is that it can manipulate the code within a Web page before sending it to your browser. For most Web pages, no manipulation is done. Rather, the server simply sends a copy to the browser and the browser does the work of displaying the code. The programs running on the Web Server are server side programs because they are on the side of the internet that the Web server is on. The browser being used to access the Web site is on the same side of the Web as you, the client side.
crowdsourcing: A word developed from the word Crowd and a shortened version of Outsourcing. Crowdsourcing takes tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsources them to a group of people or community, through an “open call” to a large group of people (a crowd).
Digital Earth: The concept of a virtual globe given in a speech given by Al Gore in 1998. Considered to be a significant breakthrough in geographical information and also in the democratization of geo-data. See also Bodum and Jaegly (2006), The Democratizing Potential of GES
Digital elevation model (DEM): A digital file consisting of terrain elevations for ground positions at regularly spaced horizontal intervals.
Earthslot: Before tools like Google Earth and NASA’s WorldWind were available, Dr. Matt Nolan developed his own virtual globe, EarthSLOT, with global 15 meter imagery and fairly high resolution digital elevation models, using tools from Skyline Software. Because his scientific focus in on polar regions, EarthSLOT has a polar focus as well. EarthSLOT is a 3D terrain and data visualization application designed to allow scientists, educators, and the public better understand our planet and the earth-science that goes on here.
Extensible Markup Language (XML): A set of rules for encoding documents electronically/defining data elements on a webpage. By providing a common method for identifying data, XML has become “the” format for electronic data interchange.
geobrowser: A geobrowser, or a virtual globe, is a three-dimensional, computer generated representation of the Earth or another world. Using computer modeling, satelite and aircraft imaging, it allows the user to view different aspects of the environment by rotating it and changing the angle, as if flying over an area by airplane. A geobrowser may include things like roads and buildings. It can also show weather patterns, like the movement of storms, as well as updated images of the changing geographic landscape including disasters. Examples include Google Earth and World Wind.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Software Programs that allow users to capture, store, retrieve, analyze and display spatial data. See Clarke(2003), Getting Started with Geographic Information Systems, or the Encyclopedia of Goegraphic Information Science (http://www.sage-ereference.com/geoinfoscience/) for more information.
Geography Markup Language (GML): The XML grammar defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium to express geographical features. GML serves as a modeling language for geographic systems as well as an open interchange format for geographic transactions on the internet. The ability to integrate all forms of geographic information (raster and vector) is key to the utility of GML.
Geomorphology: The study of the evolution and processes creating Earth’s surface, landforms, landscapes, and other geologic material. Through this field of study, scientists and researchers try to understand the landforms on Earth, predict how these landforms will change over time, predict climatic changes in the atmosphere, and to prevent hazards such as landslides from endangering life.
Geophysics: The study of the whole Earth by the quantitative observation of its physical properties. Geophysical data are used in academics to observe tectonic plate motions, study the internal structure of the Earth, supplement data provided by geologic maps, and to nondestructively observe shallow deposits.
geoportal: A type of web portal used to find and access geographic information (geospatial information) and associated geographic services (display, editing, analysis, etc.) via the Internet. Geoportals are important for effective use of geographic information systems (GIS) and a key element of Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).
Geopolitics: Study of the influence of such factors as geography, economics, and demography on the politics and especially the foreign policy of a state
geospatial: A term used to describe the combination of spatial software and analytical methods with terrestrial or geographic datasets. The term is often used in conjunction with geographic information systems and geomatics, never separately.
geotagging: The process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as photographs, video, websites, or RSS feeds; as a form of geospatial metadata. These data usually consist of latitude and longitude coordinates, though they can also include altitude, bearing, accuracy data, and place names. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information. For instance, one can find images taken near a given location by entering latitude and longitude coordinates into a Geotagging-enabled image search engine. Geotagging-enabled information services can also potentially be used to find location-based news, websites, or other resources. Geotagging can tell users the location of the content of a given picture or other media or the point of view, and conversely on some media platforms (such as Google Earth) to show media relevant to a given location.
geoweb: The Geospatial Web or Geoweb is a relatively new term that implies the merging of geographical (location-based) information with other types of information, creating an environment where one could search for things based on location. See Haklay, M., Singleton, A., & Parker, C. (2008). Webmapping 2.0: The Neogreography of the GeoWeb. Geography Compass 2,6, 2011–2039.
hypermedia: A computer-based information retrieval system that enables a user to gain or provide access to texts, audio and video recordings, photographs, and computer graphics related to a particular subject.
Keyhole Markup Language (KML): KML is a file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Maps for mobile. KML uses a tag-based structure with nested elements and attributes and is based on the XML standard.
LIDAR: LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing system used to collect topographic data.
Mashup: A web mash-up is a web application that makes it possible to access content from different external data sources. Web mash-ups take data from unrelated sources and present it in a unique manner. They are a recent technological innovation comprised of three different contributors: API/Content providers, who supply the information being mashed; the mash-up site, where the mash-up is based; and the client’s web browser, where the user participates interactively with the application. Several different genres of web mash-ups exist, including mapping mash-ups, search and shopping mash-ups, video and photo mash-ups, and news mash-ups. See also Merrill, D. (2009, July 24). Mashups: The new breed of Web app. IBM. Retrieved from http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-mashups.html
Metadata (meta data, meta-data, or sometimes metainformation): “Data about data.” Metadata is an emerging practice with close ties to librarianship, information science, information technology and GIS. It can be applied to a vast array of objects including both physical and electronic items such as raw data, books, CDs, DVDs, images, maps, database tables, and web pages.
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC): The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® (OGC) is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.
VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language): Created in 1995, it helped to standardize the file format for 3D interactive vector graphics. It was designed with the internet in mind, but, has since been replaced by X3D.
Web 2.0: The term “Web 2.0” (2004–present) is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Examples of Web 2.0 include web-based communities, hosted services, web applications, social networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and mashups. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them. The term is closely associated with Tim O’Reilly because of the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the WWW, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but rather to cumulative changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the Web. Whether Web 2.0 is qualitatively different from prior web technologies has been challenged by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, who called the term a “piece of jargon” — precisely because he intended the Web to embody these values in the first place.
web 3.0: The semantic web (or the meaning of data), personalization (e.g. iGoogle), intelligent search and behavioral advertising among other things. See also The Semantic Web at http://www.nature.com/scientificamerican/journal/v284/n5/pdf/scientificamerican0501-34.pdf