GeoNetwork opensource is a standardized and decentralized spatial information management environment, designed to enable access to geo-referenced
databases, cartographic products and related metadata from a variety of sources, enhancing the spatial information exchange
and sharing between organizations and their audience, using the capacities of the internet. This approach of geographic information
management aims at facilitating a wide community of spatial information users to have easy and timely access to available
spatial data and to existing thematic maps that might support informed decision making.
Maps, including those derived from satellite imagery, are effective communication tools and play an important role in the work of various types of users:
Decision Makers: e.g. Sustainable development planners and humanitarian and emergency managers in need of quick, reliable
and up to date user-friendly cartographic products as a basis for actionand better plan and monitor their activities.
GIS Experts in need of exchanging consistent and updated geographical data.
Spatial Analysts in need of multidisciplinary data to perform preliminary geographical analysis and reliable forecasts
to better set up appropriate interventions in vulnerable areas.
The main goal of the GeoNetwork opensource software is to improve the accessibility of a wide variety of data, together with the associated information, at different
scale and from multidisciplinary sources, organized and documented in a standard and consistent way.
The challenge is to enhance the data exchange and sharing between the organizations to avoid duplication, increase the cooperation
and coordination of efforts in collecting data and make them available to benefit everybody, saving resources and at the same
time preserving data and information ownership.
FAO and WFP, and more recently UNEP, have combined their research and mapping expertise to develop GeoNetwork opensource as a common strategy to effectively share their spatial databases including digital maps, satellite images and related statistics.
The three agencies make extensive use of computer-based data visualization tools, known as Geographic Information System (GIS)
and Remote Sensing (RS) software, mostly to create maps that combine various layers of information. GeoNetwork opensource provides them with the capacity to access a wide selection of maps and other spatial information stored in different databases
around the world through a single entry point.
GeoNetwork opensource has been developed to connect spatial information communities and their data using a modern architecture, which is at the same time powerful and low cost, based on the principles of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and International and Open Standards for services and protocols (a.o. from ISO/TC211 and OGC).