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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2010

NRL-SSC Scientists Author Premier Book on Tile-Based GIS

By Shannon Breland

Naval Research Laboratory computer scientists John Sample and Elias Ioup recently had their book Tile-Based Geospatial Information Systems published by Springer. Tile-Based Geospatial Information Systems is the first published book dedicated to the subject.

In it, Sample and Ioup present theory and provide concrete techniques to implement a tile-based online mapping system, knowledge they honed while developing NRL's Tile Server. NRL's Tile Server is widely used across the Department of Defense for high-performance map access.

Using their experiences in the field of geospatial computing, the authors developed entirely original content for the publication and provided the reader with valuable case studies and samples of code to aid in comprehension of the topic, benefitting both the experienced professional practitioner and novice GIS student.

Because of the increased loading speed and improved usability, tile-based systems have become the new standard for online mapping. Anyone who has searched for a location using Google, Yahoo or Microsoft's online maps has interacted with a tile-based system. When a searcher's Internet speed is slower, he may notice a square of the map takes longer to load; the square is a tile. Each map tile loads simultaneously; if tiles were not used, the searcher would be forced to wait for one large image to load every last byte of data.

In addition to this relatively simple mapping interface improvement, Tile-Based Geospatial Information Systems discusses use of tile-based systems with 3D mapping tools, various coordinate systems, indexing requirements among other topics.

The authors also dedicated attention to the overall theoretical understanding and development of algorithms to maximize functionality and efficiency within a tile-based system.

Sample and Ioup both work in the Geospatial Sciences and Technology Branch at the NRL Stennis Space Center (SSC) detachment on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. NRL-SSC employs approximately 200 civilian scientists and support personnel and conducts research and development in the fields of marine geosciences, oceanography and underwater acoustics in support of Navy and Marine Corps.

About the Authors

Dr. John T. Sample has worked for 12 years as a scientist in the Naval Research Laboratory's Geospatial Sciences and Technology branch of the Marine Geosciences Division. He has authored and edited articles, books, and book chapters on the topic of web-based GIS, holds two patents related to web-based GIS and has developed a number of tile-based mapping systems in use by the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Sample obtained his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1999 and his Ph.D. in computer science from Louisiana State University in 2003.

Elias Z. K. Ioup is a computer scientist working on several geospatial research programs at the Naval Research Laboratory. He is the principal investigator for the GHUB Distributed Geospatial Repository program and a lead developer on the Geospatial Information Database (GIDB). These programs represent leading DoD efforts to leverage geospatial capabilities using service-oriented architectures and Web services. Elias Ioup received bachelor's degrees in mathematics and computer science from the University of Chicago in 2003, a master's degree in computer science from the University of New Orleans (UNO) in 2006. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in engineering and applied science at the University of New Orleans.

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