geographical specific data and Geographical Information Systems

For a user of geographical data an added value can only be generated through combination of those topographic geographical basis data with geographical specific data providing the content. Because interest neutral geo basis data is at the beginning of a value added chain in which growing information consolidation takes place through integration of different thematically structured information

These information describe objects and facts in the real world and include next to the characterization also a spatial link e.g. in form of coordinates, addresses or other geographical data. Thereby a Geographical Information System (GIS) is developed to collect, govern and analyse data as well as visualize it cartographically. These GIS can answer questions that refer to the spatial layout of objects and facts on earth: „Where am I?“, „Where can I find the next . . .?“, „How far is it to . . .?“, „What exist in/ near . . .?“, „Where happens/happened . . .?“

Since the 1990’s use of digital geographical information is possible for everybody and expanded to many spaces of daily life thanks to the development of user-friendly GIS supported applications. Yet today GIS are essential working tools in different fields of application. In recent years as a result of the growing importance of geographical information and GIS technologies there are more and more discussions on the possibilities to use GIS for touristical, historical and cultural contents.

At present the existing geographical information systems covering wide areas (national or worldwide) and developed by public authorities and ministries present only limited fields of themes. Mainly they have been developed to present information on energy supply, logistics and transport, public administrations as well as disaster control, antipollution and agriculture – not on touristical contents.

GIS developed by associations and organisations refer to narrow fields of action regarding content and often show limited cartographic details e.g. maps of golf locations made by golf associations. While the thematically broad (inter)national GIS from the private sector like Google Earth record only few objects in their systems and following that polarize on highlights.