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+ Read the following papers to better understand why INPE is involved in the TerraLib project
-> TerraLib: An Open Source GIS Library for Large-scale Environmental and Socio-economic Applications PDF
-> Networks of Innovation and the Establishment of a Spatial Data Infrastructure in Brazil PDF

+ What is TerraLib? TerraLib is a GIS classes and functions library, available from the Internet as open source, allowing a collaborative environment and its use for the development of multiple GIS tools. Its main aim is to enable the development of a new generation of GIS applications, based on the technological advances on spatial databases. TerraLib is a free software.

TerraLib is being developed by DPI (Image Processing Division) at INPE (National Institute for Space Research), Tecgraf , the Computer Graphics Technology Group of PUC-Rio (the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil) and FUNCATE (Foundation for the Space Science, Applied Research and Technology).

The main motivation for this project is the current lack of either public or commercial GIS libraries that cater for the diversity of GIS data and algorithms, especially when viewed upon the latest advances in geographical information science. The basic idea behind TerraLib is that the current and expected advances in database technology will enable, in the next few years, the complete integration of spatial data types in data base management systems (DBMS). This integration is bound to change completely the development of GIS technology, enabling a transition from the monolithic systems of today (that contain hundreds of functions) to a generation of spatial information appliances. The transition from file-based GIS systems to spatial databases will enable different applications to use the same data, as also is being proposed by the OpenGIS consortium.

On a practical side, TerraLib enables quick development of custom-built geographical applications using spatial databases. As a research tool, TerraLib  is aimed at providing a rich and powerful environment for the development of GIScience research, enabling the development of GIS prototypes that include new concepts such as spatio-temporal data models, geographical ontologies and advanced spatial analysis techniques. TerraLib defines a geographical data model and provides support for this model over a range of different DBMS (MySQL, PostgreSQL, ORACLE e ACCESS), and is implemented as a library of C++ classes and functions, written in ANSI-C++ (INCITS / ISO/ IEC 14882:1998).

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