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Information Rich GIS Dissemination in Disconnected Environments

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Information‐rich maps are today rendered from powerful back‐end servers. Unfortunately, there may be circumstances in which access to such Internet‐resident web services is infeasible or unreliable. These disconnected environments can theoretically occur during major power outages, malicious attacks on communications infrastructure, natural disasters, or in remote operating environments. One might also envision applications in which a disconnected service is preferred over Internet‐resident services, such as when the local internet service is overloaded with traffic, making communication though it difficult. To this end, this article presents a software stack (a map stack) that can serve GIS information from low power embedded nodes. The system combines a spatially enabled SQL database, location‐based routing, and multi‐scale map rendering to serve information‐rich GIS data on common hand‐held devices at minimal energy consumption. The maps are rendered on browsers on off‐the‐shelf mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. The system also provides a crowd sourced capability where end users can annotate maps with up‐to‐date information on the scene of the natural disaster. We have prototyped a fully functional map stack on a battery powered Gumstix Overo air platform. We show that the map stack is a highly extensible platform that provides low latency, and low energy dissemination of maps during a natural disaster.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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