It is estimated that more than 80% of data that human beings have collected so far are geospatial data. In order for the geospatial data to be useful, information has to be extracted from the data and converted to knowledge. However, currently it is very difficult for general users to obtain geospatial data and turn them into useful information and knowledge. In order for geospatial information to become the mainstream information, the geospatial information systems have to be able to provide the ready-to-use information that fits the individual users' needs. This paper presents the distributed geospatial services which can fully automate data discovery, access, and integration steps of the geospatial knowledge discovery process under the interoperable service framework, fully automate a rang of geo-computational services at a limited geospatial domain, and greatly facilitate the construction of complex geocomputation services and modeling. The paper discusses the service-oriented architecture, web services, Grid services, geospatial services, geo-object and geo-tree concepts and their implementation in the service environment, and the interoperable geospatial service standards. It also discusses some advanced research issues related to automatic geospatial information extraction and knowledge discovery in the web service environment, including automated geospatial data and services discovery, domain knowledge-driven intelligent geo-object decomposition, automated geospatial web service chaining, binding, and execution, and management of workflows and geospatial models.
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