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practice Spatial Data Infrastructure of the Region of Sardinia

Spatial Data Infrastructure of the Region of Sardinia

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Acronym of the case:

SITR-IDT

Web address of the case:

Country of the case:

Italy

City/region:

Region of Sardinia, Italy

Posting Date:

10 December 2009

Last Edited Date:

30 December 2009

Author:

Luisa Manigas (Region of Sardinia, Local Authority for Municipalities, Finances and Urban Planning; Department for Cartography and information systems)
Spatial Data Infrastructure of the Region of Sardinia LogoSITR's picture

Type of initiative

  • Project or service-imgProject or service
  • Strategic initiative-imgStrategic initiative

Case Abstract

The Regional Authority for Municipalities, Finances and Urban Planning of the Region of Sardinia, especially the Regional Department for Cartography and Information Systems, has developed its Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) creating an information system to create and publish the official geographic data of the Region; the project is called SITR-IDT. The database containing all the official geographical data of the Region and a large number of services and web applications has been created; therefore all geographic data are easily available for both public administrations and web users, including simple citizens and companies. These INSPIRE web services have been implemented and are freely accessible from the website:

All geographic data present in the database are also accessible through the interoperability OGC services  WMS (Web Map Service) and WFS (Web Feature Service). They allow to view and download data of the SITR-IDT database by using a GIS client desktop, or a webgis application compliant to the OGC international standard. The links for operating the interoperability connection are available at http://www.sardegnaterritorio.it/j/v/239?s=6&v=9&c=2871&na=1&n=10.

Several web applications available for local public administrations, in order to improve and ease the government of the territory, have been created. Applications for managing building authorizations, local planning and the coastal public estate patrimony, for monitoring the territorial transformations, and such services have been developed.

Finally, a section dedicated to the description of the Regional Landscape Plan, complete with  of all the official cartography and of a customized navigator which allows to browse the planning cartography is available.

Description of the case

Start date - End date
January 2006 (Ongoing)
Date operational
June 2006
Target Users
Administrative | Business (self-employed) | Business (industry) | Business (SME) | Citizen | Civil society
Target Users Description

The project is based on a strongly technological  and innovative structure, and exploits the new Information and Communication Technologies in order to increase the diffusion of an enlarged geographic knowledge among all citizens. Besides constituting a medium for geographic knowledge diffusion, it has also offers practical useful services, that can be used both by citizens and companies for personal and business purposes. Several freely web-accessible navigators have been developed, both very user-friendly and more professionals-dedicated, which allow to use the geographic information granted by an official government, as the Regional Public Administration is, in a easy and catchy way.

The diffusion of the web-based free geographic information directly implements those principles of innovation as the motor for economic change, of "learning economy" and finally also of "Social and environmental renewal", designed by the Lisbon Strategy.

Free and widespread accessibility to geographic information is also hoped by INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC), which states that the spatial information plays a key role in improving the territorial government, monitoring the environment, and therefore improves the citizens quality level. The project strongly implements the operational guidelines delivered by the INSPIRE project (in its Implementing Rules and in the Commission Regulation (EC) No 1205/2008 of 3 December 2008 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Councilwith  regards to metadata), therefore giving the basis for a solid and effective spatial data infrastructure. The project is therefore quite well embedded in the European context on geographical information, and also at a national level it constitutes nowadays one of the best practices, due to its completeness and to the newness of the technologies used.

Actually, the Italian National Authority of Informatics in Public Administration has recently delivered Draft Technical Guidelines for the creation of a National Register of Spatial Data, constituting the annex to a Draft Decree of the President of the Minister Council, which will be probably become definitive in few months.
SITR-IDT has already almost totally implemented these guidelines, which mostly concern metadata on spatial data.

Planning of the territory is one of the primary purposes that the SITR-IDT system has fulfilled, by giving services and information supports to allow local public administration to improve the planning of their territories respecting the environment and the landscape.

E-government finalized services and applications have been created, that will be made available to Sardinian local public administrations to improve their management of bureaucracy for the control and monitoring of the territory, in order to grant its protection, valorization and enhancement. In the project, a very important section is dedicated to the management of cadastrial data by information media. Implementing the Italian national law concerning the standardization and the management at a unique national level of all the tributes and fees correlated to cadastral information, a dedicated service has been created. It consists of services of download of the official cadastral data at the most updated level, according to the national project called "Sigmater"; besides, SITR-IDT has developed specifically dedicated software, with the functionalities of the modern GIS software, which allow the management of all official territorial data, exposed by the SITR-IDT services, together with cadastral data.

Scope
Local (city or municipality) | National | Regional (sub-national)
Status
Operation
Language(s)
Italian

Policy Context and Legal Framework

The project is based on a strongly technological  and innovative structure, and exploits the new Information and Communication Technologies in order to increase the diffusion of an enlarged geographic knowledge among all citizens. Besides constituting a medium for geographic knowledge diffusion, it has also offers practical useful services, that can be used both by citizens and companies for personal and business purposes. Several freely web-accessible navigators have been developed, both very user-friendly and more professionals-dedicated, which allow to use the geographic information granted by an official government, as the Regional Public Administration is, in a easy and catchy way.

The diffusion of the web-based free geographic information directly implements those principles of innovation as the motor for economic change, of "learning economy" and finally also of "Social and environmental renewal", designed by the Lisbon Strategy.

Free and widespread accessibility to geographic information is also hoped by INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC), which states that the spatial information plays a key role in improving the territorial government, monitoring the environment, and therefore improves the citizens quality level. The project strongly implements the operational guidelines delivered by the INSPIRE project (in its Implementing Rules and in the Commission Regulation (EC) No 1205/2008 of 3 December 2008 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Councilwith  regards to metadata), therefore giving the basis for a solid and effective spatial data infrastructure. The project is therefore quite well embedded in the European context on geographical information, and also at a national level it constitutes nowadays one of the best practices, due to its completeness and to the newness of the technologies used.

Actually, the Italian National Authority of Informatics in Public Administration has recently delivered Draft Technical Guidelines for the creation of a National Register of Spatial Data, constituting the annex to a Draft Decree of the President of the Minister Council, which will be probably become definitive in few months.
SITR-IDT has already almost totally implemented these guidelines, which mostly concern metadata on spatial data.

Planning of the territory is one of the primary purposes that the SITR-IDT system has fulfilled, by giving services and information supports to allow local public administration to improve the planning of their territories respecting the environment and the landscape.

E-government finalized services and applications have been created, that will be made available to Sardinian local public administrations to improve their management of bureaucracy for the control and monitoring of the territory, in order to grant its protection, valorization and enhancement. In the project, a very important section is dedicated to the management of cadastrial data by information media. Implementing the Italian national law concerning the standardization and the management at a unique national level of all the tributes and fees correlated to cadastral information, a dedicated service has been created. It consists of services of download of the official cadastral data at the most updated level, according to the national project called "Sigmater"; besides, SITR-IDT has developed specifically dedicated software, with the functionalities of the modern GIS software, which allow the management of all official territorial data, exposed by the SITR-IDT services, together with cadastral data.

Project Size and Implementation

Type of initiative
IT infrastructures and products
Overall Implementation approach
Partnerships between administration and/or private sector and/or non-profit sector
Technology choice
Proprietary technology | Standards-based technology | Mainly (or only) open standards | Accessibility-compliant (minimum WAI AA) | Open source software
Funding source
Public funding EU | Public funding national | Public funding regional
Project size
Implementation: €5,000,000-10,000,000
Yearly cost:
€1,000,000-5,000,000

Implementation and Management Approach

The system was born to constitute the official geographic basis of the Public Administration of the Region of Sardinia for all the urban and regional planning actions that will be made in the future. SITR-IDT was planned and created inside the Regional Authority for Municipalities, Finances and Urban Planning. This structure plays a key role in the Regional public administration concerning geographic data and urban and territorial planning; the key role played in this sense by SITR-IDT has been officially recognized also by the Regional Planning Law, which individuates in SITR-IDT the official database and GIS system that every Sardinian local public administration must use to prepare and publish its urban and territorial plans.
The coordination of the project has therefore been made by an official organ, the Regional Authority, and the creation of the system has been followed directly by this office, in the persons of the directors and functionaries working there. The works for the practical realization of the information system was assigned to private companies with a strong and very proven experience in the field of informatics. External professional experts on Geographical Information Systems and in Informatics have been involved in the project in the role of Work Directors. Due to the huge entity of the project (ten millions euro invested) and to the long time required (almost 4 years), the project has been divided in several fixed temporal steps; at the end of each step, the work made were evaluated and, if auto-consistent, they were paid for the a limited amount, corresponding to the cost of the product realized minus a 5% which was detracted in order to grant that each single piece of the system, periodically evaluated, would be completely implemented in the system at the end of the project.  External evaluators, consisting in professional experts in the field of informatics and Geographical Information Systems, have been employed in the project in order to make the provisionnal and the final evaluation of the project. The role of the public administration
functionaries was that of editing of the project and of a supervision and evaluation of the correspondence of the works made to the original requirements expressed by the Regional Public Administration in the project. One of the greatest difficulties for the public administration was due to the organization problems that occurred during the project. We experienced problems consisting of technical, coordination with external parties etc. problems. All these problems required choices that were made at the level of the Public Administration, and that implied having a different behavior in terms of reaction for each different problem that occurred. In case of technical or organization problems implying the impossibility of creating a product, the project should have produced simple but effectively working products (software and services).

In the management of  the project, it was clearly kept as a leading point that the key role should be played by data, more than services and applications. No partnership with private companies was possible, but cooperation with universities and other Regional Bodies has been started and
produced good results, mostly for the integration of cultural and historical information in the system. One of the key points that allowed to reach a quite good success on the effectiveness of the system was to give a strong and active look to the already existing European realities. First of
all, the INSPIRE Directive and all its implementing rules have been scrupulously followed, and also several ISO 19100 standards have been implemented in the conceptual model of the database.

Technology solution

The Spatial Data Infrastructure created in the project is constituted by the spatial database in which are physically stored all geographic data and the related metadata, and by all those services and applications required for access data by web users and all other external users. The database containing spatial data is called "Unique DB" and is an Oracle Spatial database, which allows to store data according to the SDO format. All external subjects which are part of the Spatial Data Infrastructure, such as other public administrations that produce geographical data, can confer their data to the Unique DB to be published by means of the web services made available by SITR-IDT. When external data come to the Unique DB they must be loaded into the database; specific ETL procedures have been elaborated to upload data and write them on the Oracle Spatial Tables. ETL procedures work by using the ArcGIS platform; this choice has been made because this platform was already installed on the computers present in the offices, so that implementation costs could be reduced. SQL scripts have been set to perform the operation of data load into the Oracle Spatial database. Every datum uploaded in the Oracle database is equipped  with its own metadata, built according to the ISO19115 standard and to the INSPIRE I.R.; metadata are recorded on a database using specific tables of the Oracle Database. After metadata creation, data are catalogued on a Feature Catalogue, modeled according to the ISO19110 standard. Metadata feed the Regional Catalogue of Spatial Data, which is freely accessible on the web and constitutes the point of access to the whole Spatial Data Infrastructure. Also the Feature Types, attributes and values catalogued with the Feature Catalogue feed a web page containing the physical description of data. Data stored in the Unique DB are catalogued by means of GeoServer and are made available on the web by means of different services, consisting in navigators and standard web services. WMS (Web map service) and WFS (Web Feature Service) allow desktop and web clients to access data of the Unique DB;
data are made available in vector and raster format, and are exportable in local in different formats, such as shape file, dwg and others. Navigators accessible at the moment by the web site work both on the webgis technology and in OpenLayers A.P.I. technology. Since the webgis technology is possessed by a private group and requires the payment of a periodic fee, the opensource of the OpenLayers project have been preferred and adopted. They allow to create maps using pieces of source code made available in open source modality; in SITR-IDT they have been customized giving birth to the ROJA (Region of Sardinia Openlayers Javascript API), which implement further functionalities for web geographical navigators, and which are freely made available on the SITR-IDT website.

Impact, innovation and results

Impact

At the moment, in the project no tools have been created in order to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the system and its use by external users. On the other hand, this point will be faced within the next months, because of the wish of implementing all services designed by the INSPIRE directive, among which a monitoring and reporting service is present. The total amount of money allocated  for the project is ten millions euros; since every geographic information system and spatial data infrastructures require evolution and maintenance, additional money will be required for managing the system in the next years. An estimation of around 500.000 euro per year can be hypothesized, to be used for the evolution of services and applications, for the payment of the fee for the Oracle database software use license, and finally for the human resources employed for the management of the system. The economical impact of the project on the territory is very difficult to calculate in numerical terms; as for every service published by a public administration, no money is planned to be earned by the Region of Sardinia with SITR-IDT. The impact will be nevertheless very important in terms of services for citizens and for private companies, since data and web services exposed by SITR -IDT constitute a precious basis for further elaborations. Data coming from SITR-IDT spatial database have the added value, in comparison to more popular systems as Google Maps or Google Earth, constituted by being validated by a public administration. Besides, another added value is constituted by the fact that the data published by SITR-IDT are very precise, since they are subjected to scientific and technical evaluation procedures before their publication.  

Data are distributed with no limitations on use, apart from some conditions which invite the users to cite every time that the data are used, that the data creator is the Region of Sardinia, and that data can not be sold as they are distributed by SITR-IDT; what produces investments and job opportunities and can be object of money earning are all those services and elaborations made upon the official spatial data.

A very important point is constituted by software developed and used in SITR-IDT. If for some application and even for the spatial database commercial software is used, which require the payment of a periodic fee, for the most part software used in SITR-IDT are open source, so that no fee is paid for their use. Besides, a very important choice made by SITR-IDT is that all the open source software which is developed in the system is made available for free (with a GNU-LGPL license) to all the public administration and private companies and professionals which are interested in using these software. The economical impact of this choice, in advantage of private citizens and companies, can be easily understood, even in difficultly quantified.

Track record of sharing

The system created in the SITR-IDT project has been built according to the rules designed by International standards and directive and by National guidelines for the constitution and management of a Spatial Data Infrastructure. The geo-portal accessible at www.sardegnaterritorio.it has been built according to what designed by INSPIRE directive (2007/2/EC) for the constitution of geo-portals, and is inspired to the one published on the INSPIRE web site. International standards are not available for the constitution of a spatial database, but there are several ones containing technical rules for the management of spatial metadata, and for the creation of the web services for data access and consultation. In SITR-IDT metadata are made according to the ISO 19115 standard, and implementing INSPIRE I.R.; metadata describe geographic data and constitute data "identity card", since they describe data identity and give validity to data themselves. Metadata constitute the basis for the description of data to all users external to the Spatial Data infrastructure, and therefore, if made according to international standards and rules, they constitute the "passport" of all data. Metadata of
SITR-IDT are compliant to the ISO 19115 standard and are therefore interoperable with other Spatial Data Infrastructure.

In SITR-IDT, interoperability services for data exposition and publication are made according to the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standard; WMS (Web Map Service) and WFS (Web Feature Service) are exposed by SITR-IDT and can be used by all standard web and desktop clients for viewing and downloading data existing in SITR-IDT spatial database.

Software developed in SITR-IDT often open source and are redistributed to the scientific community in terms of source code, so to make available to all the community its patrimony of knowledge and its experience.

Since SITR-IDT is a quite new project in the national outlook concerning Spatial Data Infrastructure, it has already made many steps that have not been made by many other national public administrations. Contacts have been taken with some national public administration in order to make a comparison of the technologies chosen. Besides, SITR-IDT is strongly open to international exchanges of experiences; its participation to the INSPIRE third European conference and to the GSDI 11 world Conference in Rotterdam with a talk on metadata is just an example.

Lessons learnt

1) The most important experience made with the SITR-IDT project is constituted by the capability of managing a Spatial Data Infrastructure at such a large level as a Regional extent can be. The large number of applications and software developed has contemporarily created many problems of management but at the same time it made a strong experience among  the regional public administration workers, which constitutes a precious patrimony of knowledge for the next similar project.

2) Another very important experience maturated in the  project is the question concerning metadata management. In SITR-IDT the principle according to which spatial data can not be managed without their related metadata has been completely adopted. Starting from a point in which a strong lack of experience and even of the culture of equipping data with their related metadata, we experienced directly the necessity of managing at a proper deep level spatial metadata. In order to be compliant to national technical guidelines delivered by the national authority for informatics in public administration (CNIPA) and also to the international directives, standards and practical guidelines at European level (see INSPIRE directive and implementing rules, and ISO 19115 and 19110 standard), some important changes in the metadata organization had to be made during the project development. Besides the compliance to standards and technical guidelines, important changes in metadata management was to be made in order to fulfill the requirements coming from the daily management of the spatial database. A strong experience has been maturated after a deep study on the question of metadata for spatial data, and the participation to international events such as the third European INSPIRE conference in Rotterdam in June 2009 is just an example.

3) A negative point that we experienced during the project is that projects concerning informatics face some problems when lasting more than one or two years; besides, when many applications and services are managed into such a long and big project it is very difficult to control them in the most proper and accurate way. Therefore the suggestion we can make is that shorter projects, involving few applications should be carried on, especially when managed by a public administration, whose lack of direct experience can constitute an important limit. Within the specific case of Spatial Data Infrastructure, we have experienced that the most important part to work on is constituted by data, which must be solid and wel constructed, while services and applications can come subsequently and are more easily subjected to changes and maintenance actions.

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