Nowadays, it is widely acknowledged that geospatial information has immense applicability across a vast spectrum of human endeavors. Examples include oil and gas exploration, energy management, smart city, weather forecasting, disaster management, e-government, just to name a few.
All such activities entail gathering a significant amount of data and other critical information that must be stored, accessed and managed. Within this scenario, the research community faces an increasing number of large repositories of geospatial data stored in different locations and in various formats. This clearly requires novel methodologies and technologies capable of delivering both interactive visualization and intelligent complexity reduction and data management.
Recently, the availability of Web-based Geographical Information Systems and more specifically 3D virtual globe such as GoogleTM Earth (Google, 2007), Microsoft® Virtual EarthTM (Microsoft, 2007) or NASA WorldWind (NASA, 2007) has extended the domain of GIS-based application to the web. This has brought to a radical shift from traditional monolithic systems, composed by thick clients accessing centralised geo-databases, to more distributed architectures based on web-services, providing integrated and interoperable access to geographical data and service.
Albeit the nature of data accessed is still static, virtual globes are becoming a new generation of easy to use yet powerful planning tools as they give operators the possibility to interactively access a vast amount of territorial data in a very interactive and effective manner.
There is a great potential, yet largely unexpressed, on the use of geographic information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth to support the processes of control, monitoring, and planning of a territory. This talk aims to present the potentiality of a web-based architecture used to access interactively a variety of themes and real-time information at an urban, regional and national scale.