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Effective use of GIS in Bahrain

Mohammed Noor Al Shaikh


Mohammed Noor Al Shaikh
Assistant Undersecretary of common municipal services, Ministry of Municipalities and Agricultural Affairs,
Kingdom of Bahrain
[email protected]

N V Kumar


N V Kumar
Head of GIS
Information Systems Directorate, Bahrain
[email protected]

Rajasekar


Rajasekar
System Analyst
Information Systems Directorate, BAHRAIN
[email protected]
The GIS in Bahrain is nearly a decade old. Many GIS applications have been developed to improve the performance of the various municipalities

The Kingdom of Bahrain has five Municipalities governed by respective Municipal Councils headed by the Ministry of Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs. There are 28 municipal locations rendering services to the people of the kingdom. The Information Systems Directorate (ISD) guides the municipalities to identify the suitable techniques that will improve their productivity and efficiency.

The ISD in the Ministry of Municipalities and Agricultural Affairs coordinates the municipalities and directorates by sharing their information, activities and their experience. ISD connects all of the municipalities with other ministries and provides a centralized facility to store, analyze, maintain and share the data between the different municipalities. It also develops the applications to improve municipality services and staff efficiency.

Municipal GIS
The GIS in Bahrain is nearly a decade old. Many GIS applications have been developed to improve the performance of the various municipalities. Well, in the early years, municipalities were following rudimentary form of GIS using CAD tools. In this context Central Municipal Council (now ISD) has commissioned the steering committee and the working/technical committee for identifying the possibilities of implementing Geographic Information System, which would aid in ISD achieving its corporate goals and objectives. ISD started implementing GIS in Bahrain Municipa-lity with the preparation of the GIS strategic business plan in mid 1997. The project initiated with the establishment of a project team consisting of municipality staff to manage the GIS implementation. The team was charged with the implementation of the GIS, in order to improve their efficiency and increase their revenue. In the last five years municipal GIS has assumed major significance in Bahrain.

GIS Strategic Business Plan
The Strategic Business Plan focused really on all the basic components of GIS such as hardware, software, standardized procedure, data requirements and establishment of the GIS team. Detailed survey was carried out in municipalities to understand the scope of GIS in municipal services and data requirements.

Municipal Spatial Database
As a primary step of the GIS implementation plan, the data inventory and evaluation was carried out. Both the spatial and aspatial data were considered while documenting the user data requirements. The data requirements can be classified into two, namely the data required as Base map or reference files and the thematic maps or self-created data. In Bahrain, the base data required for municipal services are scattered with various organizations and different formats. The cadastral maps and topo maps were created and updated by the survey directorate and the data was available in DGN format only. Similarly, other data, such as road network and sewerage data are also available with the Ministry of Works in DGN format.

ISD formulated the concept of centralized data warehousing for storing the thematic maps and data sharing by collecting base maps from other government agencies and updating them at a time period set for each base map. All the required maps were collected from different sources and formatted as seamless thematic layers. All the data are stored in ArcSDE, in order to carry out multi-user edit.

ISD has generated road centerline using existing topo maps and satellite images. Separate project was carried out to collect all the addresses as spatial data, which was completed in six months period. Currently the address layer is updated everyday by municipalities when they issue new addresses to the public. High resolution satellite images from IKONOS, Quickbird satellites were also added to the municipal database. Importantly ISD has reached an understanding between many organizations to share their data with the municipalities, which really enriches the municipal spatial database.