Grid Computing for Collaborative Geo-processing Applications

Grid computing has emerged as an important new field in the distributed computing arena. The Grid computing concept is intended to enable coordinate resource sharing and problem solving in dynamic virtual organizations. The basic idea is to provide computational power to everyone who can access it, just like electric power Grid providing electricity. The sharing in this computational Grid refers to not only file exchanges but also direct access to a spectrum of computers, software, data, and other resources, as required by a range of problem solving and resource brokering strategies emerging in industry, science, and engineering.

At ICAR-CNR we are applying Grid computing concepts and Grid/Web Services technologies within a research project that handles the landslide events that have interested the Campania Region in May 1998 in the Sarno area. The aim of the work is to improve the overall ability to predict landslides and mud flows and to develop countermeasures to limit their disastrous consequences.

Landslides are natural disasters which can cause serious damages in terms of lives lost, houses destroyed, economies disrupted. They are complex natural phenomena that are hard to model and simulate. The simulation of landslide hazards is particularly relevant for the prevention of natural disasters, since it enables to compute risk maps and helps to design protection works.

By combining geographic information system data to represent altimetry, soil state, vegetation, water content, etc., with cellular automata theory we have defined a model which describes the evolution of the landslide. A realistic simulation with feasible computational constrains has been realized using CAMELOT, a parallel simulation environment for cellular computations, developed at ICAR-CNR. CAMELOT is available at

Over recent years, much effort has been made to create distributed platforms on which scientists may be able to undertake collaborative studies on these complex phenomena. Tools for modeling and simulating landslides, visualization methods, high performance systems, spatial data mining algorithms, together with geographical data retrieved by the World Wide Web are the essential elements by which to build collaborative problem solving environments that can help researchers to better understand the physics of these natural phenomena and make experiments with different scenarios.

Today, using Grid and Web Services technologies is possible to build a service-oriented architecture with which to make interoperate, by standardized interfaces, the different geo-processing services. The access to services can be obtained by a Grid-portal, a Web-based user interface, that allows scientists to orchestrate the different services using geo-workflows.

MOSÈ is the Grid-portal realized at ICAR-CNR that includes geo-processing services necessary to the Earth Science community to study the complex phenomenon of landslides. It includes services to access geographical data from remote GIS, for modeling and simulation of landslides, for parameter estimation, for spatial data mining and for data visualization. MOSE' is available at

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