Application of SEDRIS in
M&S and non-M&S Domains

Since SEDRIS is about representation and interchange of environmental data, its conceptual technologies can be applied to a diverse set of modeling tasks, while its software capabilities can be used in a variety of applications.

The SEDRIS Data Representation Model (DRM) has a powerful and expressive schema for capturing and representing environmental data. The concepts and architecture of the DRM have proven instrumental in developing system-level designs in a number of government projects, as well as industry products. Several commercial organizations have used the concepts and schema from SEDRIS in development of their next generation environmental tools, or in extending their current tool sets. The DRM has also aided such toolmakers to better understand the data needs of related markets and applications, such as constructive simulation and computer generated forces systems.

Similarly, a number of simulation projects and programs, both U.S. and international, have taken advantage of the architectural aspects of SEDRIS technologies in their system design and planning. Modelers of environmental data have utilized the DRM to fully represent, model and analyze their designs, as well as evaluate their own data requirements. And the use of SEDRIS' Environmental Data Coding Specification (EDCS) has proven invaluable in providing a semantic mapping between existing and emerging data sets. The Terrain Common Data Model, and its follow on activities, is a great example of the value that DRM and EDCS technologies can provide.

And currently, through the conceptual underpinnings of SEDRIS' Spatial Reference Model (SRM), the community is enjoying a growing awareness of the importance, complexity, and magnitude of issues in using and modeling spatial reference frames. The SRM concepts, and its associated software library that performs coordinate transformations and conversions, have been successfully used in a number of important government and commercial applications and projects.

Another important use of the DRM, EDCS, and SRM is in the development of clear and unambiguous specifications for data requirements in applications that depend on environmental data. Since these three SEDRIS technology components can be thought of as a language for expressing environmental data, they can, and are, being used to express input and/or output requirements for systems that consume or produce environmental data sets.

This has proven especially valuable to system developers and integrators who have to procure environmental databases or system sub-components. It allows them to specify their requirements in a neutral language, while eliminating their dependence on single source suppliers. This, in turn, broadens the market, promotes competition, and allows value-added services to flourish. Several major programs are currently utilizing this technique to ensure their system requirements for database specification, production, and consumption will be met.

The interchange aspect of SEDRIS makes it possible to utilize the SEDRIS API and the SEDRIS Transmittal Format to develop data converters. Many such converters (to and from SEDRIS) exist today, and more are on the horizon. A growing number of commercial organizations have developed conversion utilities between SEDRIS and their internal format and representation. Through the single common interface of SEDRIS, this has allowed more immediate access to a large collection of data sets that previously was not easily available. In turn this has, and will continue to, reduce the cost of maintaining or developing a multitude of individual format converters.

In addition to these, some companies have been offering conversion packages as commercial products based on SEDRIS. Others have been developing applications and frameworks that will allow the plug-and-play of many tools or utilities through common interfaces.

To date, the SEDRIS core team and a number of SEDRIS Associates have developed an array of powerful tools that are used in verifying, viewing, analyzing, evaluating, and examining SEDRIS transmittals. These tools have proven very valuable, and are becoming de facto standards in a growing number of projects and organizations. Utilization of this collection of tools and applications has saved several hundreds of thousands of dollars in the development, use, generation and maintenance of environmental data sets. Newer tools are now on the drawing boards.

So depending on the needs or application, one can use SEDRIS for a variety of different tasks and at different levels. This includes using the DRM, EDCS, and SRM technologies to design, analyze and model environmental data; to specify requirements for database contents, as well as defining interfaces to environmental data. It also includes the application of SEDRIS software technologies to design and implement format conversion utilities, as well as using existing tools and utilities to evaluate, view, analyze, convert, manipulate and generate environmental data sets. Finally, system-level software applications based on SEDRIS can be utilized to tackle even more complex problems in dealing with environmental data.

As 3D and 4D representations of environmental data take root in other communities, we can expect an increased realization that the requirements for data representation and interchange are quite similar to those the M&S community has experienced for years. Communities that must rely on environmental data, such as GIS, C4I and entertainment, among others, can greatly benefit from the lessons learned in the M&S field. Representation of environmental data is fundamentally the same, regardless of how such data is applied in different fields, or used in different applications.

This realization played an important role in the design and development of SEDRIS. Part of this is heavily reflected in the deliberate de-coupling between the Data Representation Model, the Environmental Data Coding Specification, the Spatial Reference Model, the Interface Specification, and the Transmittal Format. Such de-coupling has a number of design and maintenance benefits. It also allows the individual component technologies to evolve at different rates, and as needed. At the same time, SEDRIS treats environmental data without regard to its scope, resolution or domain of use. So whether it is used in the M&S domain or some other field, does not change anything in or about SEDRIS.

The combination of these characteristics makes SEDRIS easily suitable for use in practically all application domains that must deal with environmental data.

The GIS, C4I, web-based application and cellular communication fields, for example, are increasingly requiring the use of 3D and 4D data for visualization, analysis and evaluation in support of decision-making tasks. The complex, multi-dimensional and inter-related nature of the data sets that have to come together to rapidly produce meaningful information for the user not only require sophisticated software applications for analyzing the data quickly, but also require powerful and integrated representational schemas that facilitate processing and interchange of data semantics.

SEDRIS is designed to meet these needs. SEDRIS is implemented as a fully integrated data representation model, and enables the expression of very complex environmental data relationships. At the same time, SEDRIS treats the various environment domains (ocean, terrain, atmosphere and space) equally, while allowing their complete integration. SEDRIS has always remained sensitive to the practical needs of end-applications that use such data.

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Last updated: April 26, 2004