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.