Home Articles PRAGATI- A low cost GIS based Decision Support System

PRAGATI- A low cost GIS based Decision Support System

S. A. Sharma
Sr. Scientist
[email protected]om

Mitesh Patel, Paritosh Shukla, T. P. Singh
Remote Sensing and Communications Centre (RESECO), Gujarat

Abstract
To facilitate transparent and rational planning at district level, it is pertinent to have a Decision Support System (DSS). As a strategy to provide DSS at district and taluka level in Gujarat state, Gujarat Geographic Information System (GGIS) was envisaged for grass root level planning. PRAGATI – Low cost software developed using Java and MS-Access, can run on any PC with minimum configuration and does not require any costly GIS software. Village level data regarding demography and amenities related to health, education, irrigation, infrastructure etc. are available at a few clicks. Mathematical and logical queries based on various attributes can be carried out to get the desire results. Complete information about a village can also be obtained by just clicking on the map. The village level information can be obtained at district or taluka level for Gujarat State. Any other village level data can be further integrated with ‘PRAGATI’ and on-line help is available for the users. The village level information can also be obtained at parliamentary or assembly constituency level. The various outputs can be printed in a hard copy or can be exported to jpeg format for presentation. Thus a particular map can be easily availed at very low cost.

The software has been installed at all the districts of Gujarat state with relevant training to District Planning Officers and others who are involved in decision-making.

Introduction
GIS or spatial IT is a covetous area in the field of Information Technology. GIS has grown within the last few decades and efforts at national level as well as state level has resulted in to creation of geospatial datasets. These spatial datasets are needed not only by the creators of datasets but a much large community of grass root decision makers, policy makers, academics, research organizations etc. Today our decision makers sieve through a large amount of information. For dispensing their needs and also to facilitate transparent and rational planning at district level, it is pertinent to have a Decision Support System (DSS), which is economically viable, user friendly, and has customizable spatial dataset. In Gujarat it is evident to have a paradigm shift to filter complicacies for the GIS to be user friendly. Here is one such approach done at Remote Sensing & Communication, Centre (RESECO) Gandhinagar, which initiated as Gujarat Geographical Information System and is popularly known as “Pragati”. The software Pragati was developed under NRIS program.

About “Pragati”
PRAGATI is low cost, java based platform independent GIS software, used for depiction and analysis of various data at Village, Taluka or District level to serve as DSS. The software is Windows based, customizable software package, which can be used as DSS with spatial approach. It can display various geospatial layers; can accept user defined non-spatial datasets to generate maps based on it. It can also generate maps based on complex user queries.

Fig 1: The map of a particular Taluka showing the availability
of schools within a village

Some Salient Features of “PRAGATI”
PRAGATI is user-friendly software with Menu/Tool Button Driven access. It enables one to generate complex queries from non-spatial datasets and also display results of it on spatial datasets (maps), as shown in figure-2. For this a Smart Query Generator dialog box is provided, which guarantees that queries generated from it will be syntactically true, so that user does not need to worry about SQL Syntaxes. Software has also got parser which will check the generated query and will prompt the error message if it finds some error (indicating the place of error) in syntax of the input query and it also will display the results of query in the spatial form (on map) with selected entities filled with different color.

Some other salient features of the software are:

  • Zoom In, Zoom Out, or Pan the map without distorting shape or information of it.
  • Linking of any nonspatial data to spatial data the user has.
  • Built in facility for customizing views and the ranges of classes for classification.
  • Printing of both spatial and non-spatial datasets is possible. Spatial data will be printed in the graphical form where as nonspatial datasets will be printed in tabular form.
  • One can also export current theme in the JPEG format.
  • Measurement of aerial distance between any two points on the map.
  • One can also import shape files with all its data.

Users of the Software
“PRAGATI” software has been installed and is successfully being used by District Planning Officers and District Statistical Officers of the state and others who are involved in decision-making.

Fig 2:

There have been three specific applications custom delivered which are briefly described here after. Several other users are preparing their databases for the same.

PRAGATI for planners:
The planners of district and taluka level like collectors, DDO, TDOS, have undauntable task of planning various national and state level rural development programmes, decide within the qualifying condition of various projects, satisfying the local needs. The software PRAGATI has been installed at the offices of all DPOs, Collectors, DDOs and other officers in the state. The response have been very good and because of the improved perception of this data the planning department has taken up the ardent task of developing very comprehensive database use and embolden the use of geospatial data in planning.

The Vidhansabha
After looking at the above version of PRAGATI the honorable speaker of Gujarat assembly demanded the PRAGATI based database built around the constituency instead of District/Talukas. This meant a spatial data layer showing information related to Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies. This customization was done within Four days and delivered.

The Pragati outputs are a part of the information kiosks put up in Vidhanshabha Bhavan.

PRAGATI Crime Mapping:
The home department insisted to have maps according to their Police station boundaries instead of Taluka boundaries. They wanted to map the data about various crimes, road accidents, communal riots, etc. occurring in the area as shown in

Fig 3: Crime mapping for Kheda Police

The Future Domain Of “Pragati”
The present version of PRAGATI can be further enhanced, keeping in mind the needs of the users. Some possible enhancements have been enlisted below.

  • To support different projections.
  • To generate some components in the form of java beans. So user can customize his software with it.
  • To generate server-wise model so that number of users can use it simultaneously.
  • To make it web enabled.
  • To support other file formats.
  • To overlay satellite images in background.

Conclusion
The cost effective GIS solution at grass root level has been found to be very useful to the planners and decision makers. It has created self-reliance among a large number of people to use Spatial Information Technology for decision-making. The software developed is our modest attempt to facilitate the Decision Support System at grass root level.