Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Δια-δικτυακή Πύλη των Φυσικών Διαθεσίμων της Κρήτης

The construction of an integrated and multi-dimensional geographical context information system for the management and promotion of information related with the natural and environmental resources of the island of Crete is imposed by the accelerated needs of dissemination, evaluation, monitoring and protection of the environment and by the need of decision making process during large scale development works. Because of a lack in digital cartographic products for Crete and particularly those related to the natural environment as well as the difficult access of them by the wider public, a campaign was initiated for constructing an inventory system to cover that data void. The produced system was based on the fusion of different technologies from informatics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), coupled with multimedia. Geographic data which resulted by processing cartographic material, satellite imagery (SPOT, ASTER, LANDSAT & QUICKBIRD) and other original geophysical and environmental measurements and models were analysed and produced different datasets covering both the urban and agricultural environmental context of the island of Crete. Field measurements (seismic and Electrical Resistivity Tomography, geophysical techniques, microtremor, electromagnetics, a.o.) were carried out to define geological characteristics of the urban centres and to correlate the morphometric units of the island with faults. A combination of fieldwork observations, processing and classification of the spectral characteristics of a time series Landsat images and spatial multivariate analysis were employed to provide a measure of the spatial complexity of the land uses and a better understanding of the temporal changes of land use patterns. Α wide range of geo-environmental data including geological, hydro-geological, hydrological, geophysical, meteorological and energy data, originated from maps, technical reports, research projects, bibliographic references, catalogues, and other conventional formats were collected and entered into different relational databases which support a link with the geographic context of Crete, in terms of topographic, land-use and geological maps. Quantitative estimates are also provided for climatic, population and forest fire historical data. The construction of digital geographic information of the island of Crete and a new generation of cartographic material of the major cities of the island (through the use of high analysis satellite imagery), the development of an environmental, geological, geomorphologic, climatic and statistic information database, the creation of thematic environmental maps (faults, fires, seismic activity, etc), the modelling of the environmental parameters and the risk assessment of the environmental and natural resources constituted the major modules of the project. The public/free release of the above information, through the help of GIS and WEB_GIS platforms (, can guarantee the high impact level to the end-users, enhancing also the potential use of the above data to a wide range of applications such as the management of the natural resources or the geological hazards of the urbanized environments. The above actions are the products from the research program entitled "Development of an Expert System for the Monitoring, Management & Protection of the Natural Landscape & Environmental Resources of the Island of Crete” (EMERIC I). This was funded by the Region of Crete (program CRINNO – Crete Innovative Region) and the European Union.

  • Apostolos Sarris
  • Nikos Papadopoulos