In area studies, researchers analyze natural, social, and cultural settings using an interdisciplinary research approach. Since the 1990s, when people in even the most remote locations of the world began to feel the effects of globalization, the number of area studies researchers has increased dramatically. Subsequently, information on many locations worldwide began to be assembled and synthesized.
Simultaneous to this revitalization of area studies, information technology for processing data advanced greatly, boosting the field of informatics and finding new applicability in applied sciences, such as area studies.
In April 2010, CIAS launched the Area Informatics Project, which aims to apply state-of-the-art information technology to combine and analyze data produced in area studies research. Its overarching goal is to construct a basic platform for a wide range of area studies data to enable sharing between different institutions and enhance the presentation of study results.
The Area Informatics Project comprises two parts, namely, a resource sharing system and a construction of an integrated database. This resource sharing system is a common platform that allows cross-searching of different types of information stored in various institutions. An integrated database is one with a gateway through which information input can be done easily. It also enables map visualization using a time slider function, which helps reveal potential interactions with information. For example, users without special informatics knowledge can create a map-based database.