The THETIS system is viewed as a digital library of collections of multimedia information, scientific models, and visualization tools needed to locate and use for Coastal Zone Management (CZM). THETIS focuses on supporting CZM for the Mediterranean Region of Europe. CZM is a methodology for the holistic management of all coastal resources with the ultimate aim of promoting sustainable development of the coastal zones. European coastal regions, the Mediterranean region in particular, are under threat from over-exploitation, resulting in environmental degradation, most notably visible as marine pollution. CZM recognizes that pollution problems transcend political boundaries, and so to be effective, CZM requires the integration of multinational data collections as well as data management and data visualization across many scientific disciplines, such as marine biology, oceanography, chemistry and engineering.

CZM has received tremendous political support from the European Union, and a growing multidisciplinary scientific base exists with strong interest in networked, integrated, and interoperable systems for aiding the solution of various problems. The adoption of standards for data collection across regions for certain parameters has improved data integration to some extent. However, creation ubiquitous standards for all parameters/parameter combinations in all instances is unlikely and also does not satisfy the problem of integrating legacy data. What scientists and decision makers require are tools that enable them to access these disparate data sets, and to use the data in a form that is applicable to them to give them the information they require.

In the prototype system, organizations involved in the THETIS project make their data, simulation models and data processing and data interpretation techniques available. In addition, GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and specialized visualization tools are included.

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