Multimedia Tools for
Advanced GIS Training in Europe

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

Internal Deliverables:


MUTATE Educational Multimedia Project MM1019 (ET):
Internal Deliverable D3.1

Dynamic, distributed parameter modelling
and linkage to GIS (Multimedia component)

Environmental modeling, spatial analysis, air quality, systems architecture, networking, client-server, HPCN, http,
Release June 1998
Author: Kurt Fedra


Programme name Educational Multimedia
Project Acronym MUTATE
Contract number MM 1019 (ET)
Project title MUltimedia Tools for Advanced gis Training in Europe
Deliverable number ID3.1
Deliverable title MM component on dynamic, distributed parameter modelling and linkage to GIS
Deliverable version number 1.1
Work package WP3 (Development and integration of complex dynamic simulation models and sptial DSS
Nature of the deliverable Online Multimedia component
Dissemination level Limited to Programme Participants
Contractual date of delivery PM6 (June 1998)
Actual date of delivery PM6 (online)
August 1998 (hardcopy)
Author Dr.Kurt Fedra
Environmental Software & Services GmbH
Kalkgewerk 1   PO Box 100
A-2352 Gumpoldskirchen, AUSTRIA
tel: +43 2252 633 05
fax: +43 2252 633 059
Project technical co-ordinator Dr.Joao Ribeiro da Costa, Chiron - Sistemas de Informacao, Lda.
tel: +351 1 3500 278
fax: +351 1 2943 710

Dynamic, distributed parameter modelling
and linkage to GIS (MM component)

Executive Summary

This deliverable contains, as a hyperlinked on-line Multimedia document, some initial material describing the philosphy, approach, and specific implementation within ther MUTATE project, of the interactive dynamic modeling components. Its objective is to introduce the philosophy and approach, as well as a number of concrete examples of functionality and interface style to facilitate the discussions between tool developers and content developers within the MUTATE project team.

The Deliverable

  • describes an initial set of models to be integrated, and provides on-line references to detailed model documentation;

  • includes a short introduction to the philosphy of model-GIS integration that the MUTATE modeling components are based on, as well as a set of introductory lecture notes (in a Javascript slide show) on integrating GIS and spatial models;

  • it offers a first description of the model architecture and client-server communication protocols and options that implement this philosophy;

  • and it provides a few first demonstration prototype examples of Java-based and fullt Internet accessible servers (a GIS model server and an air quality model, using the Geneva case study) to illustrate some interface style elements and possible functionality as a basis for the design process in the project.

As an on-line working document, it is beiing updated periodically to reflect progress in WP 3, and be linked to the other Deliverables in the D3 group as they become available.

Structure of the Deliverable

The main page of the Deliverable ( contains the Executive Summary, a short introduction to the set of MUTATE Interactive Modeling Tools and their respective documentation, an introduction to environmental modeling as spatial analysis, and a number of hyperlinks to the body of on-line multi-media material comprising this deliverable.

These hyper-links include:
(first and second level of hyperlinks only)

  • The MUTATE Model Demos provides links to demonstration examples, the Geneva case study, and a number of user interface examples from screendumps, in part from the AirWare air quality management software system.
    • Extremely simple model demo
    • Very simple model demo
    • Simple model demo
    • The Geneva Case Study: includes a description of the applet user interface;
      • Work Plan and Functional Specifications
      • GIS Map Server Release 0.1
      • ISC Model Server Release 0.1
    • The AirWare Model System
  • Model Architecture
    • Communication protocol (technical description)
  • Spatial Modeling Lecture Notes (Javascript slide show)
  • Model documentation: ISC-3 air quality dispersion model
  • Model documentation: convolution approach to air quality models
  • Model documentation: dynamic multi-puff model
  • On-line background paper: GIS and Environemntal Modeling
  • On-line background paper: Decision support for natural resources management: Models, GIS and expert systems.


Model Demos
Spatial Modeling
Lecture Notes

MUTATE Interactive Modeling Tools

The interactive and dynamic environmental modeling tools integrated into the MUTATE bundle address classical environmental problems such as:

Environmental Modeling as Spatial Analysis

Spatially distributed dynamic simulation or optimisation models
can be understood as an extension of the classical analytical capabilities of GIS.

Most environmental problems do have an obvious spatial dimension. However, they are at the same time usually dynamic, and involve complex and non-linear behavior of a multitude of interacting and evolving elements.

Within the domain of environmental modeling this is addressed by spatially distributed models that describe environmental phenomena in one (for example, in river models), two (land, atmospheric and water quality models, models of population dynamics), or three dimensions (again air and water models). The increasing development and use of spatially distributed models replacing simple spatially aggregated or lumped parameter models is, at least in part, driven by the availability of more and more powerful and affordable computers.

On the other hand, geographical information systems are tools to capture, manipulate, process and display spatial or geo-referenced data. They contain both geometry data (coordinates and topological information) and attribute data, ie., information describing the properties of geometrical spatial objects such as points, lines, and areas.

In GIS, the basic concept is one of location, of spatial distribution and relationship, basic elements are spatial objects. In environmental modeling, by contrast, the basic concept is one of state, expressed in terms of numbers, mass, or energy, of interaction and dynamics; the basic elements are ``species'', which may be biological, chemical, and environmental media such as air, water or sediment.

The successful integration of GIS and environmental models to create dedicated environmental information and, ultimately, decision support systems requires a number of technical and institutional features that need to consider the basic characteristics, assumptions and constraints of these technologies and their users.

For a more complete description of the underlying ideas as well as the current state-of-the-art, see the on-line papers:

Fedra, K. (1994)
GIS and Environmental Modeling   In: M.F. Goodchild, B.O. Parks and L.T. Steyaert [eds.] Environmental Modeling with GIS. 35-50, Oxford University Press.
Fedra, K. (1995)
Decision support for natural resources management: Models, GIS and expert systems. AI Applications, 9/3 (1995) pp 3-19.

Copyright 1995-2002 by:   ESS   Environmental Software and Services GmbH AUSTRIA