Recent years have ushered in standard languages, such as Geography Markup Language (GML) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), for the exchange of geographical and spatial data. Since their advent, the project on open spatial information technologies has successfully used them, together with only open source software, to build a prototype system that retrofits a legacy data standard used in Taiwan for the exchange of topographic maps. The prototype coverts topographic maps in legacy format to GML-based XML documents. The XML documents are then visualized by a GML-to-SVG transformer.
The current research of the project focuses on promising new directions of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) research with the use of new standard languages. These languages, together with a Webbased open technology framework, make it possible to build novel spatial systems. The systems not only will integrate heterogeneous sources of geography and non-geography data, but also can be easily customized to meet special needs of individuals and communities and made easily accessible from the Web by various end devices. A goal of this work is to design and build a prototype open spatial information system that embodies the research results and demonstrates new concepts and approaches.