Home Articles Benefits and bottlenecks of SDI development in Egypt

Benefits and bottlenecks of SDI development in Egypt

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El-Sayed Ewis Omran


El-Sayed Ewis Omran
Wageningen University,
Center Geo-Information and Remote Sensing
The Netherlands
[email protected]

Joep Crompvoets


Joep Crompvoets
Wageningen University,
Center Geo-Information and Remote Sensing
The Netherlands

Arnold Bregt


Arnold Bregt
Wageningen University,
Center Geo-Information and Remote Sensing
The Netherlands

Spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) are now widely recognized as an important development for the organization, dissemination and use of spatial data. Most nations have by now recognized the importance of SDI to their economic, environmental, political and social prosperity (e.g. ANZLIC, 1996). Such an infrastructure may be defined as a set of rules, standards, procedures, guidelines, instructions, policies and technology for creating, collecting, process, store, maintaining, exchanging, sharing, accessing and using spatial data, (Crompvoets and Bregt, 2003). Many countries around the world are developing SDI as a way to better manage and utilize their spatial datasets (Rajabifard and Williamson, 2004). Over 120 countries presently are at some stage along the road to the establishment of SDI. Some are at a fairly advanced stage, while others are only at the beginning of what will be a long and ongoing journey.

Egypt is one of the countries were SDI development is just starting (Omran, 2005). At this moment, no comprehensive assessment of the bottlenecks and benefits of SDI development have taken place in Egypt. The purpose of this paper is an attempt to fill this gap. The main objective is to assess the benefits and bottlenecks of SDI development in Egypt in order to contribute to a healthy SDI development in this country.

ASSESSMENT METHODOLOGY
For the assessment of the current SDI situation in Egypt and the identification of benefits and bottlenecks the following steps were taken:

  • Literature Review: Through literature review, the general concept of SDI was studied and the general aspects of SDI and its components were reviewed.
  • Questionnaire: To get the appropriate information, it was decided to distribute a questionnaire to numerous key organizations in Egypt. Questions were designed to analyze technological, financial, and institutional aspects of SDI development.
  • Interviews: Additional interviews with key manager were hold to get in-depth insight into situation.
  • On the basis of the questionnaire and interviews results, the current spatial data infrastructure in Egypt was described and analyzed and factors for improvement were identified.

CURRENT SDI SITUATION IN EGYPT There are different views on the SDI components and its definition. In this paper we used the components as proposed by Rajabifard et al., (2002). These components are people (including partnerships), data, policy, standards and access network (see figure 1). Based on the questionnaire the following global characterization of the situation can be given.

Data
Although some data in Egypt exist in digital form, most organizations are still keeping their data as paper maps. Digital data are not available and even analogue data are not widely accessible. Although the description of metadata is an important aspect in developed countries, it is almost ignored in Egypt. Most spatial data is still not documented. Moreover, obtaining data from organizations is restricted by unnecessary formalities. For example, because the digitization of topographic maps is not allowed, the users are moving to illegal digitization.


Fig 1: SDI components (adopted from Rajabifard et al., 2002)

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