Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - School of Business and Economics

Environmental Information Systems

This area of research deals with the conception and development of environmental information systems in organizations. It focuses mainly on questions about environmental management in distributed systems, IT technical support for environmental management systems and the application of meta-information systems in environmental information systems. The following questions are of special interest:

Architecture of environmental information systems: A document based architecture for meta-information systems was developed and implemented prototypically in the application EcoExplorer system. EcoExplorer is run off a client application based on Java and a lotus domino server application. The meta-data can be worked upon, arranged and administered in EcoExplorer with the help of the XML based descriptive language EML (Environmental Markup Language). In order to administer the abbreviations and concepts of environmental information systems a subject specific thesaurus was created. The Eco-thesaurus prototype was implemented as well as a simultaneous representation for an alphabetical and systematic order of the terms. In addition an information system was developed to efficiently manage the legal and regulatory demands that have to be applied to the specific environmental information systems.

Material and energy balance: A method for account based management of material and energy flows including the associated cost flows were developed as well as a method for the management of selected environmental impact categories and prototypically implemented in application ACCOUNT. Thus the cost account based user interface allows improved handling data in comparison to modeling tools based on material flows.

Environmental Reporting: An XML based document structure was developed for environmental reporting of organizations and prototypically implemented in the EcoExplorer . Due to the modular characteristics of the developed document structure, each organization involved in the environmental reporting system can provide their respective report component independently as an XML based document. These independent components can then be aggregated, into one single report. This structure supports an inherent federal documentation process is fostered.

Environmental Markup Language (EML): The described research activities are embedded in a standardization process of an XML based description language for environmental data namely, EML. EML belongs to the family of XML based domain specific applications like "Chemical Markup Language". The working group EML from the society of computer science is supported by the Institute of Information Systems. It aims to bring together scientists and practitioners industry and administration in order to advance the usage of EML in the international arena of environmental information systems so as to exchange expertise worldwide. The motivation for this lies in part on a uniform language and discussion basis in the area of environmental informatics and also in part on a standardized format for information and meta-information in the area of environment.

Researchers involved in the project

Prof. Dr. Hans-Knud Arndt
Prof. Oliver Günther, Ph.D.

Selected Publications

Arndt, H.-K., Christ, M., Günther, O.: EcoExplorer / ACCOUNT: An environmental management information system, in: Systems Analysis Modeling Simulation, Vol. 41, pp. 615-627, 2001

Arndt, H.-K., Günther, O. (Hrsg.): Environmental Markup Language (EML), Workshop 1, Berlin 1999, Metropolis, Marburg, 2000

Arndt, H.-K., Günther, O.: Semantic-based Access to Environmental Reports Using Topic Maps, erscheint demnächst in International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development

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