An open, standardized data management and related service infrastructure is a crucial requirement for a seamless storage and exchange of data and information within research projects, for the dissemination of project results and for their application in decision making processes. However, typical project databases often refer to only one research project and are limited to specific purposes. Once implemented, those systems are often not further maintained and updated, rendering the stored information useless once the system stops operating. The River Basin Information System (RBIS) presented here is designed to fit not only the requirements of one research project, but focuses on generic functions, extensibility and standards compliance typically found in interdisciplinary environmental research. Developed throughout more than 10 years of research cooperation worldwide, RBIS is designed to manage different types of environmental data with and without spatial context together with a rich set of metadata. Beside data management and storage, RBIS provides functions for the visualization, linking, analysis and processing of different types of data to support research, decision making, result dissemination and information discovery for all kinds of users. The focus of this paper is on the description of the technical implementation and the presentation of functions. This will be complemented by an overview of example applications and experiences during RBIS development and operation.
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