Geoinformatics in Eco-climatic Studies

Ayanlade, A, Jegede MO, Borisade PB.  2015.  Geoinformatics in Eco-climatic Studies. In Mehdi Khosrow-Pour (ed), Information Science and Technology, Third Edition. , Hershey PA, USA: IGI, USA



Geoinformatics is a modern technology that provides accurate means of measuring the extent and pattern of changes, and other related information about environment (Boakye et al., 2008). The term “Geoinformation” consists of two main words: “Geo” which means earth’s surface or the environment; and “informatics” stands for fact about something. Thus, Geoinformation is the science and technology of communicating the evidences about the state of the earth’s surface. It is known for technological robustness to assess spatial and temporal change occurring on the earth’s surface (Yang & Liu, 2005; Ehlers, 2008). In the recent years, Geoinformatics has been used to provide electronic representation about earth’s surface and man’s interaction with the earth. Geoinformatics has emerged in the last two decades as an exciting multi-disciplinary endeavour, spanning such areas as Geography, Cartography, Remote Sensing, Image Processing, Environmental Sciences and Computer Aspects of environmental studies.

In general, the science and technology of Geoinformatics encompasses application of remote sensing and GIS data and methodology. GIS is an acronym that stands for Geographic Information Systems while the remote sensing data are those data collected through various devices without human (researcher) contact with field. GIS, in actual sense, is not a new development, it is only recently that it has gained widespread acceptance as a tool to assess both spatial and non-spatial issues. GIS was initially referred to as the management of information with a geographic component primarily stored in vector form with associated attributes. This definition quickly became too limiting with advances in software and recent digital ideas about earth. GIS involves spatiotemporal data analysis using software, hardware, people and approaches to acquire, store, update and manipulate for presenting information about the human environment. GIS could be seen as a digital computing environment and human interactions with the environment. For environmental change analysis, GIS uses both remote sensing and non-remote sensing data. Non-remote sensing data may include field observation, topographic, geological and edaphic data. It may also include terrain data, as well as socio-economic survey data, and reports relating to human environmental relation. Though non-remote sensing data are those data acquired by other means than remote sensing approach, they are sometimes used in Geoinformatics analysis, for identification and interpretation of environmental features and their significant change over time (Campbell 2002). In general, it has been shown in several other recent studies that Geoinformatics is not only good for preparing precise environmental change assessment, but also for observing changes at regular intervals of time, it is cost and time effective (Kreuter et al., 2011; Ahmad, 2012; Aguirre-Gutiérrez et al., 2012; Avitabile et al., 2012).