Mobile Geographic Information Services

Mobile Geographic Information Services

Lin Hui, Ye Lei
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch128
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The birth of mobile geographic information service (GIS) is introduced first, which is coming from the value-added service requirements in third generation (3G) telecommunications and functionally supported by geographic information system technologies. Then the history of mobile geographic services coming from mobile GIS (MGIS) is introduced. The present turning inside-out model of mobile geographic information service is discussed. The future developing trends of mobile geographic information services supported by ubiquitous computing research is proposed. The overview of mobile geographic information service is summarized in the conclusion, and the relationships and fusions between location-based services (LBS) and mobile geographic information services are discussed.
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The geographic information system (GIS) is the most active technology in geographic science and earth science. With the development of computer and network software and hardware, especially Internet building, GIS has got a lot of new features to fit Web applications. GIS technology integrates common database operations such as query and statistical analysis with unique visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by maps. GIS usually provides a number of tools for people to get more useful geographic information. Now GIS not only serves as a spatial data management system but also plays an important role in many geo-based application fields. (Figure 1)

Figure 1.

GIS developing trends


Recently, with the new challenge in work and life, personal computers can not meet the demand of people in many situations. Not only the individuals but also enterprise customers hope to access the information under the mobile environment.

The third generation mobile phone is an extraordinary story of emerging technology. The transition from “2G” to “3G” will revolutionize our concept of the mobile phone by bringing personal bandwidth and applications previously associated only with fixed networks (

On the other hand, expanding wireless coverage, more reliable connections, reduced network latency, higher data transfer bandwidth, cheap and accurate positioning technologies, and widespread adoption of mobile telephones and other mobile devices are the key enablers of mobile geographic information services.


From Mobile Gis To Mobile Geographic Information Services

Since 1990, geospatial information technologies and mobile wireless Internet have been rapidly developed. It is easy to see that the integration of geospatial information and mobile Internet is inevitable, which is simultaneity driven by market demands and technologies.

The integrated system is designed to work on mobile intelligent terminals, and brings new dimension–at any time, any place–to access geospatial and attribute information in GIS. It is called mobile geographic information system (MGIS). MGIS offers another new perspective for the use of GIS and further extends the “office” GIS works in mobile environment. MGIS was early applied to assist office and collect data in the field.

The research on mobile GIS started from the 1990s. The aim of the mobile geographic information services is to assist the geographic data management of some special department, such as the managements of power, engineering construction, and water supplies. The link and data transfer of the outside and inside GIS by the wireless network is the key technology of MGIS. Procis Software developed this kind of MGIS in 1992. MGIS is only considered a part of the company GIS, so it must depend on the data management system, mobile geographic information management system (MGIMS). MGIS needs the abilities of MGIMS, such as offering the wireless communication channels, and managing and integrating the data collected outside.

In the middle of the 1990s, with the progress of the computer hardware and software and the development of new mobile terminals, location-based services (LBS) became the key topic of this period.

Key Terms in this Chapter

GNSS: Global navigation satellite system. GNSS is a satellite system that is used to pinpoint the geographic location of a user’s receiver anywhere in the world.

Pocket PC: Pocket PC (PPC) is one kind of hand-hold computer supported by Microsoft Window CE Operating System. HP and Dell are the world-famous PPC manufacturers.

GIS: GIS is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analysing, and displaying data related to positions on the Earth’s surface.

PDA: Personal digital assistant. PDA is a handheld device that combines computing, telephone/fax, Internet, and networking features.

Ubiquitous Computing: Ubiquitous computing names the third wave in computing, just now beginning. It is roughly the opposite of virtual reality, and it is a very difficult integration of human factors, computer science, engineering, and social sciences.

3G: 3G refers to the third generation of developments in mobile communication technologies, and its name follows the first generation (1G) and second generation (2G) in wireless communications.

LBS: Location-based service. “Any service or application that extends spatial information processing, or GIS capabilities, to end users via the Internet and/or wireless network.”

RFID: Radio frequency identification. RFID is a technology that uses tiny computer chips smaller than a grain of sand to track items at a distance.

GIScience: Geographic information science (GIScience) or GISci includes the existing technologies and research areas of geographic information systems (GIS), cartography, remote sensing, photogrammetry, and surveying (also termed geomatics in the U.S.).

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