The Irkutsk Regional Information System for Environmental Protection - 'IRIS' assesses the current status and dynamics of the Irkutsk Region's forestry environment, influenced by man-made changes and anthropogenic impact arising from pollution sources and other negative anthropogenic drivers located in the region and in adjacent areas. It will investigate the responsiveness and vulnerability of forestry environment within the region under different scenarios of industrial development and nature-preserving measures.

The major goal of IRIS is to efficiently share Earth Observation data and domain-specific (ecologic and economic) information within earth science community and regional governance to identify environmental impacts that are both economic and socially responsible. Thus, for integrated environmental management methodical designs are necessary which refer to the complexity of the natural resource to be managed and the difficulty to predict the factors or driving forces influencing them.

Contributions to Standards

Following the principle of interoperability IRIS is planned to become part of a distributed network of similar systems where not only data is being distributed and shared, but also applications are being offered and used throughout the network. IRIS is thus using standards published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C®), the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC™) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). On the long-term, decision makers and earth science communities will highly profit with applications, where domain-specific data and knowledge has been rigorously categorized.

Earth Observation Data

With an adequate infrastructure, satellite-based Earth Observation data serve as the base for analysing landscape structure and related socio-economic and environmental processes at multiple scales. Besides investigating long-term regional environmental problems, Earth Observation data sets are of major relevance for providing on-demand information such as for large and partly inaccessible regions like the Irkutsk Region. The initial satellite vision system focuses on a specific spectral and spatial domain at a particular point in time. The transformation of such records into reliable information is controlled by the capabilities of image processing and expertise about the ground. Data of different EO sensors in different spectral, spatial and temporal dimensions need to be made compatible and synergistically available. Altogether this limits the use of EO data but nevertheless EO platforms are the primary data source for up-to-date information, whereas derived landscape units are regarded as primary units for further landscape quantification and modelling. Thus, IRIS concepts set high value on advanced database integration of multi-resolution EO data/products.

Communication Platform

The Communication Platform that will come along with the prototype Online-GIS serve as a powerful tool for communication within the project, for developer issues and even more important, for the collection of user requirements. The Communication Platform, serves as the basis for computer supported cooperative work. Partners can make information available to partners on a "pull" basis and can help to quickly find and view information and applications relevant to their roles and responsibilities (English and Russian language).