Computers & Geosciences, Volume 23, Number 4 May, 1997

Klaus Biter
Jose Carmona
Departament de Geoquimica, Petrologia i Prospeccio Geologica
Facultat de Geologia
Universitat Barcelona
E-08071 Barcelona
Espana
klaus@natura.geo.ub.es

John C. Butler
Department of Geosciences
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204
jbutler@uh.edu

Comments From the Associate Editor

This months issue of C:&G is a special issue on Visualization. A set of Internet Links is available from the ANON home page.

The editors of Computers and Geosciences are interested in how different groups (faculty, companies, scientific organizations, etc.) are using the Internet. Given the international flavor of the journal, its readers and its contributors, we believe that there is an interest in learning from the experiences of others across the globe. This month Dr. Klaus Bitzer of the University of Barcelona has agreed to provide an overview of Internet applications in Spain. We would welcome such overviews from readers in other countries.

Evolution of Internet Resources in Spain

Within only a little more than 5 years, use of Internet resources in Spain has immensely spread. Users in science and economy as well as private users can connect to the Internet using the Spanish net called RedIRIS, which has rapidly grown during the last 5 years. When RedIRIS was formed in 1990, only 4 computers were connected, a number which had increased to more than 42,000 in 1995. Before the development of RedIRIS, several academic networks already existed in Spain such as DECNET or BITNET, which could be connected to the Internet but at low data transmission rates. In 1985, the Spanish government initiated the development of an academic net in order to connect universities and research centers. Similar to other European countries, this net was based on the OSI standard. In 1988, the precursor of the current RedIRIS, the IRIS program (Interconexi█n de los Recursos InformĚticos de las universidades y organismos pÖblicos de investigaci█n de EspaĎa) was launched. In 1990, the IP protocol was adapted for the net and the name RedIRIS was created. Currently, more than 250 institutions are members of RedIRIS with nodes in every Spanish region. The RedIRIS is administrated by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient╠ficas (CSIC). Since 1994, internet access in Spain is public. In 1995, the Spanish telephone company (Compania Telefonica Nacional de EspaĎa) introduced the Infov╠a system, which allows users without access to a local node to connect with the internet. RedIRIS can be accessed through URL -- http://www.rediris.es. Several services are available at this site to find specific information on Spanish internet servers.

After installing RedIRIS, first internet servers were installed at Spanish universities. In 1992, the first Gopher-server was installed at the Universitat Jaume I in Castell█n. At the end of 1993, 13 web servers were available in Spain. Since then, the number of Spanish web resources as well as gopher- and ftp-servers has rapidly grown and scientific information of Spanish academic institutions is increasingly being made public through the Internet. This year, the Open University of Catalunya (http://www.uoc.es/index.html) is starting to use the Internet for educational purposes. A good place to start to connect to Spanish academic resources. A regional search can also be performed which provides non-academic resources.

Currently, only few geoscientific academic institutions are offering scientific information through the Internet, although this is quickly changing . A review which we conducted during the last weeks showed, that the majority of Spanish geoscientific websites at universities is mainly intended to distribute administrative information. Some of these sites were poorly maintained and even did not offer an e-mail address. While we can't mention all geoscientific Internet sites in Spain, we would like to mention some of the well maintained sites like the website of the Facultad de Ciencias Geol█gicas de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid which is quite informative. A useful website has also been prepared by the Instituto Andaluz de Geof╠sica with a lot of information on seismicity in Spain. A well maintained site on hydrology can be found at the Instituto del Agua at Granada University . The Departamento de Geograf╠a, Urbanismo y Ordenaci█n del Territorio at the Universidad de Cantabria also offers an overview over ongoing research and provides links to other geographic departments ) in Spain.

At the Departament de Geoqu╠mica, Petrologia i Prospeccio Geol┌gica at Barcelona University, we maintain a web page with a collection of all Spanish geoscience internet resources. By the establishment of the RedIRIS and the generally high level of hardware equipment available in Spanish universities and academic institutions, an excellent base has been laid in the recent years to promote Internet use in Geosciences in Spain. Although the number of geoscientific Internet resources in Spain is still limited, we expect that Spanish geoscientists will rapidly make use of this communication infrastructure.

Since April 5, 1997

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