Explanation of the criteria for classification and numbering of components K55.3.05
(DEC 99)
Explanation of the dates on the component's description



1.   Purpose and Objectives 

     Although many agencies have water quality databases, they often have limited ability to use data creatively (analysis, presentation, decision- making) for management purposes, or to link these data to other types of information (maps, imagery, etc.). Most water agencies have relatively simple GIS requirements but have substantial analytical requirements. To meet these needs the Government of Canada's RAISON/GEMS software has been made available under the WHO/WMO/UNESCO/UNEP GEMS/Water Programme. 

2.   Description

     The RAISON (Regional Analysis by Intelligent Systems ON a MicroComputer) software was originally developed to provide, in a single seamless package, the ability to:

     - integrate diverse information (data, maps, graphs, pictures, etc.), 

     - carry out database and spreadsheet activities with seamless linkage

       to internal modules for statistical (parametric and nonparametric)

       and graphical analysis, 

     - display data as maps, graphs, etc. and,

     - overlay graphical analyses directly onto maps and images.

     Most water agencies require easily-accessed analytical functions with enough georeferencing capability to display maps showing sampling stations, to interrogate data and information by "clicking" onto screen icons of sampling stations, and to display the results of numerical, statistical and 
graphical analyses in georeferenced form (e.g. on maps of the drainage basin). RAISON also has an excellent graphics editor for modifying and "cleaning" map images for display purposes.  

     RAISON has an open architecture; it links to most commercial databases and to full GIS systems such as SPANS, IDRISI, ARC/INFO, etc. for the purpose of exchanging map files. In its DOS version, RAISON rastorizes map files. In its WINDOWS version, RAISON uses vector files. For water quality 
work, RAISON permits storage, as part of the database, of many types of metadata that describe analytical values. Metadata are directly incorporated into numerical analyses. 

     In its advanced form (PC or UNIX), RAISON contains its own macrolanguage which allows the User to customise the software, such as incorporating models etc. Advanced RAISON is designed as a modelling and decision-support platform, and contains an Expert System shell, neural network capabilities for database analysis, etc. To link water quality data with other types of information, RAISON supports development of comprehensive databases of social, economic, and physical data, including numeric, normative and pictoral information; both RAISON/GEMS and Advanced RAISON are being used as general purpose Environmental Information and Decision-Support Systems due to ease of operation, low cost, open architecture, high degree of flexibility, and limited training requirements. RAISON can be operated within local area networks.

3.   Input

     Data can be input directly into RAISON or from most commercial database software or via ASCII files. Map files can be input from electronic databases and from most GIS systems. Maps and graphs, etc. can be scanned into RAISON.  

4.   Output

     Output may be to screen, hardcopy or networked to other computers. 

5.   Operational Requirements and Restrictions

     Training for RAISON/GEMS is one week for computer literate persons; two weeks for those without significant computer experience. Advanced RAISON requires 2-3 weeks beyond the RAISON/GEMS level for those with significant computer experience

     Minimum hardware configuration for RAISON/GEMS is: 386/486 IBM- compatible PC with minimum of 4 MB RAM; minimum 80 MB Hard Drive; math- coprocessor; VGA or SVGA monitor. Colour printer for output. Map input requires electronic map files, or access to (simple) GIS software.

6.   Form of Presentation

     Executable programs on diskette with documentation. RAISON/GEMS software is available in English and Spanish. Advanced RAISON is available in English only. Training manuals are in English, with a limited manual in Spanish.

7.   Operational Experience

     RAISON/GEMS has been installed world-wide under the GEMS/Water Programme. Mexico uses RAISON/GEMS for management of national water quality database. RAISON is a unique software product that is not available commercially. RAISON/GEMS was reviewed for GEMS/Water by an international panel selected by UNEP and WHO.

8.   Originator and Technical Support

     RAISON was developed by the National Water Research Institute (Canada Centre for Inland Waters) of Environment Canada. Environment Canada maintains the software, carries out R&D in software and decision-support technology, and provides client technical support on a cost-recovery basis.

9.   Availability

     UNEP & WHO Collaborating Centres for GEMS/Water, National Water Research Institute, Canada Centre for Inland Waters, P.O. Box 5050, Burlington, Ontario L7R 4A6, CANADA

10.  Conditions on Use

     RAISON is the property of the Government of Canada. Use of RAISON is by license only. Environment Canada makes RAISON/GEMS available under license to non-profit Institutions on a not-for-profit basis. Single copy license fees currently are $US 1000. License fees are higher for commercial users and for profit-making Institutions (including those charging overhead). Training costs are on basis of full cost recovery except when  participants are authorised to attend a GEMS/Water training programme. Advanced RAISON is only recommended for agencies with significant expertise 
in computer modelling and decision support systems.


(First entered:16 MAY 94

Last updated: 14 DEC 1999)