The University Record, January 18, 1993

Worldwide geographical details available in new database

New computer software providing geographic information beneficial for product marketing, regional planning, emergency preparedness and transportation planning, among other uses, is being developed as a demonstration application by the Center for Information Technology Integration (CITI) and the Open Software Foundation (OSF).

The U-M’s bid was the only one accepted for OSF funding.

The software is based on the existing Geographic Name Service, which will display the county, state, population (if a city), elevation, latitude and longitude, area code and telephone exchanges of almost any named feature on a U.S. map. Tom Libert, a computer systems consultant at CITI and developer of the software, says the version funded by OSF will allow users to browse a map of the world and zoom in and out in any scale using a mouse. A status window will hold information about the place.

The new version will include access to a variety of databases as well as world map information.

“We are very excited about this project because it will make it possible for users to visualize an enormous wealth of information about the United States and the rest of the world,” Libert says.

The current version has been in use for about three years and responds to approximately 1,000 queries per day, he adds. The first phase of the project is expected to be finished at the beginning of February.