MUTATE:   Multimedia Tools for
Advanced GIS Training in Europe

The MUTATE project is funded by the Educational Multimedia Task Force of the European Union.

Within the framework of the MUTATE project, ESS is developing interactive spatially distributed environmental simulation models for the integration into the MUTATE courses.

Model Demos
Modeling Tools
Environmental Simulation
Lecture Notes

Dynamic Simulation Tools in GIS

A basic innovation proposed in MUTATE is the dynamic, interactive CREATION (rather than only selection and rendering) of MM content through simulation modeling tools; This represents a paradigm shift for MM systems by giving MM designers the possibility to create live, context sensitive and history and user-aware truly interactive MM content. Both navigation and content can be made flexible in a new way. For educational use, this is obviously important as it opens the possibility for true WHAT-IF experimentation, turning the MM system into an electronic laboratory.

The domain of geographic information systems, as a relatively young IT technology but with a considerable application potential and a rapidly growing demand for advanced training tools, is an ideal testbed for this approach. Geographical concepts are clearly graphical with the map as the central paradigm. At the same time, spatial processes in areas such as the environment, natural resources, demographics, or technological systems like transportation are dynamic processes.

In GIS, the basic concept is one of location, of spatial distribution and relationship, basic elements are spatial objects, generally with a limited set of attributes and a small, if any, behavioral repertoire.

In dynamic modeling, by contrast, the basic concept is one of state, expressed in terms of numbers, mass, or energy, of interaction and dynamics, i.e., change of state; the basic elements are ``species'', which may be biological, chemical, environmental media such as air, water or sediment, or technological objects such as cars; and processes, including growth, transformation, and movement. The interactions between these elements and their evolution is based on complex, non-linear and often stochastic relationships which are functions of time and space.

The linkage of spatially distributed dynamic models and GIS opens up a wide field of research and applications. Many spatially distributed dynamic processes exhibit rather complex behaviour that goes far beyond the analytical capabilities of traditional GIS systems.

Dynamic simulation models expand the analytical capabilities of the GIS for dynamic and complex processes.

At the same time, the concept of interactive simulation to explore WHAT-IF scenarios developing in time and space is of considerable didactic value, supporting interactive experimentation and intuitive understanding of spatio-temporal processes.

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