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A performance, semantic and service quality-enhanced distributed search engine for improving geospatial resource discovery

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Geospatial resource discovery is a critical step for developing geographic science applications. With the increasing number of geospatial resources available online, many Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) components (e.g. catalogues and portals) have been developed to help manage and discover geospatial resources. However, efficient and accurate geospatial resource discovery is still a big challenge because of the heterogeneity and complexity of decentralized network environments and interdisciplinary semantics. In this article, we report a search engine framework for efficient geospatial resource discovery, which reduces integration costs by leveraging existing Geospatial Cyberinfrastructure (GCI) components. Specifically, (1) the framework provides integration capability and flexibility by adopting the brokering approach, implementing a ‘plug-in’-based framework for metadata processing and proposing a dynamically configurable search workflow; (2) the asynchronous messaging and batch processing-based metadata record retrieval mode enhances the search performance and user interactivity; (3) an embedded semantic support system improves the discovery recall level and precision by providing semantic-based search rule creation and result similarity evaluation functions and (4) the engine assists user decision-making by integrating a service quality monitoring and evaluation system, data/service visualization tools, multiple views and additional information. Experiments and a search example show that the proposed engine helps both scientists and general users search for more accurate results with enhanced performance and user experience through a user-friendly interface.
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Keywords: CyberGIS; EarthCube; data discovery; spatial cloud computing; spatial web portal

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Intelligent Spatial Computing and Department of Geography, GeoInformation Sciences, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 22030-4444, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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