GEOCAMPUS:UiTM Penang Campus Management System

GEOCAMPUS:UiTM Penang Campus Management System


Dr. Shanker Kumar SINNAKAUDAN
Mr. Joe Davylyn NYUIN
Dato’ Prof. Ir. Dr. Sahol Hamid ABU BAKAR & Ir. Harapajan Singh NAGINDAR SINGH

Water Resources Engineering and Management Research Centre (WAREM)
Universiti Teknologi MARA Pulau Pinang
13500 Permatang Pauh, Penang
Tel: +604-3822714 Fax: +604-3823460
[email protected]

Managing effectively spatial and non spatial data of a campus involves the understanding and manipulation of a large number of variables. The spatial nature of the facility and their associated resources which are linked to unique attributes makes Geographic Information System (GIS) is an ideal campus management tool. This paper, reports the final results of a pilot study that deals with the development of a university facility and infrastructure management system namely GeoCampus at Universiti Teknologi MARA Pulau Pinang using GIS. ArcView GIS 3.2, ArcView Spatial Analyst, Avenue Scripting Language and Dialog Designer had been chosen to construct this system. Relational database management system was used to connect spatial and descriptive data of buildings, rooms, roads, institutes and persons of the university. The user-friendly menu interface guides the user to understand, visualize, build query, conduct repetitious and multiple analytical tasks with spatial and non-spatial data. The results of this study clearly show that GIS has a great potential to provide an effective environment for campus facility management.

The development and rapid expansion of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology has a significant impact on the field of facility and human resources management. GIS can be defined as a computer based system that processes geo-referenced data through various means such as data encoding, data management, geographic analysis and output [1; 3]. There are many different GIS’s in use today in facility and human resources management and they tend to differ in certain aspects such as: “how they link geographic locations with information about those locations, the accuracy with which they specify geographic locations, the level of analysis they perform, the way they present information as graphic drawing and the ability to be online [2; 3]. Public organization utilities such as water, wastewater, storm-water and power are beginning to use AM/FM/GIS, leads a part their hand as well as to manage their infrastructure in better manner [6, 7, 8]. In today’s competitive world, a successful utility must take maximum advantage of its resources, from people to equipment to information. Utilities are in and they may be restructured intelligently by means of salvaging useful parts of existing systems as well as incorporating new technology to extend their capabilities [5].

Thus, the Universiti Teknologi MARA Geographic Information System (GeoCampus) is being developed to meet the current advances in the information technology and better facility management system in the campus, particularly in Penang Campus. As the biggest university in Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi MARA takes pride in its branch campuses in various states in the country. It has at least one campus in every state except the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan. Each campus runs various higher learning programs and has wide variety of human resources and facilities. Basically, its normal procedures for various departments in the university to store same student information’s such as names, addresses, student IDs, academic qualifications, student vehicle information’s, hostel rooms, library IDs and etc in a huge database. Figure 1 shows the simple relationship between a student (as an object in GeoCampus) and related data sharing within various departments. Each department has its own format and method of storing and retrieving the spatial and non-spatial information. Thus, the tendency of the same information collected and stored in many places and occasions are very high. The development of GeoCampus is intended to minimize the data redundancy and at the same time provide a better avenue for the database management. Besides that, the exchange of data between main and branch campuses can be made easy with the existence of the integrated database.

Figure 1: Information flow at various departmental levels at UiTM

Hence it would be helpful for the university administration, the students, visitors and the people who work at the university to have an information system with spatial and non-spatial attributes handling capabilities. Nevertheless there is another important reason to establish such a system: globalization forces every university to face the fact that it has to compete with other universities worldwide both for students and resources. Consequently it is vital for every university to present itself in a proper way.

This study intended to demonstrate the use of GIS in facility and human resources management and later demonstrate the concepts and principles of GIS to students, faculty and the professionals and see how best that could be implemented, the same may be taken into account and implemented for all campuses of UiTM. This first phase of the project was completed in 2006 and now the system being updated continuously based on the feed back from the user group.

UiTM Penang Branch Campus taken as a case study area, which is located about 10 km from Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia. It has a total area of 0.5 km2. Figure 1 shows the study area and it’s various built-up areas. There are six main academic faculties being in operation namely Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Pharmacy and Hotel Management & Tourism. The faculties operated in an interconnected building, namely Perdana Complex, which also houses management building, lecture theaters, tutorial rooms, laboratories, hotel and etc. One of the main reason for which this campus has been taken case study because the campus is relatively new, urgently needs a better database management system. Though this place has purely of rural culture and environment for this part, but now its characteristics are changed to urban nature. This encourages in opening of the supporting structures such as new shops, hotels and transportation facility in this area to the large scale.

Figure 2: Study Area- Universiti Teknologi MARA Penang

The process of integrating maps (spatial data), related attributes and logical expressions were accomplished by using relational database concept and customized programming. The main software used in this study is the spatial data handling software’s such as ArcView GIS 3.2, ArcView 3D Analyst and PC ARC/INFO. ArcView GIS 3.2 components are made of graphic user interfaces such as the view, table, chart, layout and script. Each of these serves different purposes for spatial data processing and representation. The GeoCampus is developed as a set of tools by customizing existing ArcViewGIS 3.2 controls (menus, menu items, buttons and tools) and linking some scripts with new controls created in any of the multi-dimensional windows (project, view, table, chart, layout or script). The ArcView 3D Analyst was used for interactive perspective viewing and advanced three-dimensional terrain building representation modeling and analysis. It enables the TIN model analysis and draping two-dimensional features or image data on three-dimensional surfaces. Arc/INFO GIS PC version 4.3 running on a DOS system was chosen since it is a professional GIS package and fully functional for spatial data analysis. It was used in the spatial data pre-processing, topology building and data conversion.

The Avenue scripting language and dialog designer were used in the object-oriented programming (OOP) and GUI design for GeoCampus. The Avenue Scripting Language possesses some important programming facilities such as lists and looping constructs for graphics manipulation, spatial queries and basic arithmetic calculations, which were fully explored in this research. Generating a GUI using dialog designer mostly involves dragging and dropping graphic objects onto the screen from a toolbox that houses these objects to give the best-looking interface to the application. The control objects or avenue subroutines are attached to the interface objects to run tailored functions as desired by the user. The AutoCAD release 14 and 2000 was used to handle a huge colletion of raw campus layout, survey and as built plans. The paper maps was scanned and screen digitized before converted to to ArcView shape files. The topology was build using PC ARCInfo Software. The various themes included in the present study are:

  • Campus layout plan
  • Drainage & Roads layout
  • Electrical power supply
  • Telecom lines
  • Drinking water supply and pumping units
  • Buildings (Perdana Complex with focus to Students Affairs and Academic Affairs Departments and Academic Faculties )
  • Sports fields
  • Future development
  • Parking lots
  • Boundary

The most labor-intensive and time-consuming part of the project was to collect and convert the original source of information into GIS format. Once the data have been entered into the system, it can be manipulated, analyzed and displayed as color images, hardcopy maps or tabular information.

GeoCampus was designed with three major operating components namely academic affairs, student affairs and facility management menus which were integrated by using relational database system. The system access level was controlled with password protection which can provide better control on the usage of the system. Figure 3 shows the main interface while Figure 5 shows the interface for campus management system which has three main operational views. The dialog designer was used to design various sub-menus which can ease the user perform database queries.

Figure 3: Main Interface of GeoCampus 1.0

Figure 4: Operational Interface of GeoCampus

By using the hotlink icon , the user may obtain information on Academic Affairs Department as shown in Figure 5 to 7. Beside that, another menu was made available to cater Students Affairs Department as shown in Figure 7 and 8. Further information on the detail application of GeoCampus can be obtained from Sinnakaudan et al, (2004 & 2005).

Figure 5: Multi Level Windows for Department of Academic Affairs

Figure 6: Administration Staff Information

Figure 7: Academic Staff Window

Figure 8: Student Hostel Information Windows

Beside staff and student management utilities, GeoCampus also was customised to integrate campus facility management utilities which cater mainly the needs of Department of Facility Management. Some of the available information worth mentioning here are landscape details (including information on trees, date planted, species types etc) as shown in Figure 9 and 10, drainage details( size, type, length etc) as shown in Figure 11, road details (name, width and length) as shown in Figure 12 and Building Name and its build up information as shown in Figure 13.

Figure 9: Location of various tree species planted around the campus

Figure 10: Attribute of various tree species planted around the campus

Figure 11: Road information around the campus

Figure 12: Drainage information around the campus ,Figure 13: Building Information

The capabilities of GIS and its usefulness for the facility and resources management in the educational institution are demonstrated through this study. Various components of GeoCampus are being updated and more flexible and user-friendly version with complete set of UiTM Penang Campus facility and resources will be made available in the near future. This integrated GIS base system definitely will help the UiTM Penang campus management to maintain the engineering college infrastructure facilities more efficiently and accurately.

We sincerely thank Institute for Research, Development and Commercialization, Universiti Tecknologi MARA (IRDC) for funding this project via research grant No. 600-BRC/ST.5/3/734 & 735. A special thank to our research officer, Miss Shiamala Vellaichamy and staff members of Department of Academic Affairs, Department of Student Affairs and Facility Management Development who are actively took part in this project.


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