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Operation Kosovo: KRISYS NET
The Kosovo Refugee Information System and Network

Global Information System (GIS)


          MapInfo is a Global Information System ("GIS") software product that portrays data on a map. It can, for example, accept a database indicating the geographic coordinates of villages or antitank mine fields and, based on symbols specified by the user, represent the villages with one symbol and the minefields with another on the same, or different maps. The maps with such data "layers" can be displayed on a computer screen printed or sent as graphical files across a computer network. By clicking on a map symbol, the user can retrieve all the data elements associated with that point.

          The program costs $1300 per individual license, and requires separate digital maps for each areas to be portrayed. For example, a complete MapInfo installation for one computer useful in Kosovo would have one copy of the MapInfo software and one copy of a digital map of Kosovo. The digital maps can be obtained from a variety of sources, under various copyright and licensing restrictions. According to one report the U. S. Department of State has offered to provide no-cost digital maps to any IGO or NGO in Kosovo using MapInfo.

          The program is relatively easy to use, although some training is helpful. One can cause a new database of information to be displayed on a MapInfo map in about five minutes, without extensive reformatting of data.