Geonamica

 

Geonamica is a software environment to create end-user ready Integrated Spatial Decision Support Systems (ISDSS). It has been developed by RIKS and has formed the basis for the development of several ISDSSs that support impact assessment of (a combination of) policy options under a range of external drivers on environmental and socio-economic indicators. These systems include models from diverse disciplines that run at different spatial and temporal resolutions.

The systems developed with Geonamica are highly interactive. They allow users to change inputs and parameters while the system is calculating and observe the results of their actions directly in a comprehensive manner. The systems provide a dual user interface for Windows with one part designed for policy makers and one part designed for expert users.

To support efficient and ongoing development of powerful ISDSSs, Geonamica includes:

  • Data structures and common functionality to implement models
  • A modelling / model integration interface based on the DEVS formalism
  • An accompanying software implementation
  • A ready-made GUI environment and components for robust, user-friendly applications

To support real-world use of these systems, a set of software tools is available to:

  • Pre-process model inputs
  • Post-process or visualise model results
  • Disseminate or collaboratively manage model data over a network or internet
  • Compare model drivers between scenarios

Geonamica uses open and transparent standards and file formats to allow for maximum compatiblity with outside tools and easy integration with other software.

Although many modelling frameworks exist that take care of a single aspect named here (e.g. model integration on a technical level or giving users easy access to model results), the unique combination of all of these features into one world-class and real-world tested platform makes Geonamica the premier choice for developing Integrated Spatial Decision Support Systems for real-world use.

Download the iEMSs 2008 conference paper.

More details / state of development

Geonamica has been designed with the aim to reduce the costs of developing innovative decision support systems based on integrated (spatial) models. This has been achieved by using modern IT solutions that maximise reuse.

  • Combining object-oriented and generic programming techniques
  • Building on widely used, open-source libraries that target performance, such as GDAL, boost libraries, HDF, Xerces and more
  • Developing reusable components where needed, but not existing notably, easy-to-use map display components with simple editing functionality
  • Capturing domain logic in an application framework

Geonamica uses not only bottom-up reuse of components, but also top-down reuse of system design and application logic, most prominently by applying the Inversion of Control (IOC) design pattern. This relieves individual model components of repsonsabilities not central to the model and implements them in the application framework - that is, in one place instead of many. The application of the IOC pattern enhances the transparency of individual models and model components, as well as model integration, by increasing uniformity of components and providing generic rules and procedures for common tasks.

Geonamica supports both spatial and a-spatial models that calculate in discrete time steps. The temporal scale is fully adjustable and different scales for different models are handled by the application framework. Data exchange between model components is instant, as they use each others data directly in a type-safe, read-only manner. That is, the application framework guarantees compatibility of data types when models are linked and makes sure that a model can only alter its own variables. Furthermore, the application framework resolves all logical data dependencies between model components, which results in precedence relations that can affect the calculation order of model components. Mutual links between models are supported and automatically incorporated in this calculation order.

Modularity, extensibility and open access are further supported by the fact that model components in Geonamica are instantiated and linked in run-time, as specified in an open XML-based structure. This allows one to swap a simple model with a heavier, more complex one (or maintain both in parallel) without the need for additional software development. RIKS has developed a tool for management, dissemination and joint development of scenarios on the basis of this XML structure. Additionally, a tool for the comparison and auditing of model parameters that make up a scenario is available.

Existing model implementations can easily be incorporated in Geonamica by creating an adaptor (a.k.a. wrapper) for the model that exposes the interface of a Geonamica model component. Any model can be incorporated into Geonamica this way, whether it is available as an executable, a library (DLL), a web service, an implementation with an OpenMI compliant interface or as source code. RIKS has vast experience in model integration, both at technical and conceptual level. See our projects page for an overview.