Spatial Data Infrastructure Of Chile: An Experience To Share

Spatial Data Infrastructure Of Chile: An Experience To Share


Chile SDI

The national spatial data infrastructure (SDI) is the name of the initiative undertaken by the Chilean government to improve the generation, access and availability of geospatial information for the purpose of contributing to the development of public policies and decision making in various fields. The SDI of Chile, since its beginning, has been constructed as a network of public institutions, all related to the management of such information, whether as creators or users, and its founding objective aims to have more and best information available to users.

A bit of history

The history of SDI Chile dates back to the mid-90s when the use of geographic information systems (GIS) started to grow and began a series of problems related to the generation and use of information. Including the ignorance, intern and between the institutions, about the existing information, the incompatibility of formats, problems to fit layers of information, existence of multiple versions of the same product information, among others.

The formal creation of SNIT was produced in 2006 by the Decree No. 28 of the Ministry of National Assets, through established the functions of the system, the duties of public bodies in relation to information management, and an organizational structure that is still in force. Today, SDI Chile is in a consolidation phase: work is currently focused on establishing the institutional and technological conditions that will allow more and better geospatial information, and that will be used effectively.

The development of SDI Chile and experiences to share

The review of the implementation process of the IDE Chile to identify some aspects as national body interests to share with other countries in the region and the world at large, the perspective of being able to contribute to the process that carry countries in these materials.

1. Leadership and commitment of the authorities.

A unique feature of SDI Chile, and that is closely related to its organizational model, has to do with the nature of the institution that leads it. In the context of the Americas countries, are not very common that the SDI was driven by a separate organization, to a national or military geographical institute. Chile is part of the Americans countries that the national coordinating of this initiative is lead by a line ministry, which in this case is the Ministry of National Assets.

Another condition that has contributed in in a relevant way to the progress made by the SDI Chile has been the commitment and conviction of the authorities, both in the Ministry of National Assets in its capacity as lead agency, as other public bodies which show remarkable development in implementation of its sector and regional solutions, setting examples of good practices that have encouraged other members of the SDI in the country.

2. Organizational model of distribution

The national spatial data infrastructure of Chile has a organizational model based on a solid structure of coordination headed, as stated by the Ministry of National Assets.

This model of distribution proposes that each of the institutions that form part of SDI Chile is responsible for generating, maintaining and publishing geospatial information that relates to its institutional mission, to benefit from the guidelines that delivers the Executive Secretariat’s standards, specifications and techniques to form an interconnected network of web information services.

In this framework, the Executive Secretariat plays a coordinating and facilitator role that established permanent virtually contact with all public institutions throughout the country to monitor the implementation process of SDI in the regions and ministries, and also to enhance interoperability and the flow of information between them.

3. Strengthening capacities of national scope

From this organizational model, many people and institutions are involved in the development of the SDI Chile. Furthermore, the development of skills for handling information at various stages (generation, analysis, integration and publication) is crucial. That is why one of the lines of work of the Secretariat is to develop training workshops throughout the country on software use for editing, use of standards, implementation of IDE. Each year about 500 people are trained.

As a result of the above today there is a critical mass of professionals in about 20 ministries and all 15 regions of the country that is committed to advance the SDI Chile, giving a territorial expression to information and generate solutions for corporate the management it, under the concept of SDI.

4. Interagency working groups to address specific tasks

From the point of view of inter-agency coordination with ministries and utilities bilateral working relationships are established to support the implementation of its sectoral SDIs and collaborative tasks were shared by several institutions. In this context, we have generated clusters and thematic forces for different purposes, always with the goal of empowering national SDI as a whole.

An example of this is illustrated in the conformation of the thematic areas of the SDI (affinity group of institutions in the content of the information generated), aimed at defining priorities and technical specifications of the priority data for the country’s basic information, infrastructure, land use planning, natural resources, social development and equity. Other national needs have led to the creation of working groups, for example for the development of Chilean standards for the achievement of interoperability between geoportals for the development of a unique cartographic of the political and administrative division of the country where attended by specialists representing institutions with competence in each of these topics.

5. Territorial decentralization for the management of information

In addition to observing a model of distributed organization, SDI Chile operates in a decentralized way. In each of the 15 regions regional governments, in close coordination with the Executive Secretariat of the SDI Chile, leading the implementation of its SDI, calling for public services and all actors have an important role in the field, often incorporating actors who are not part of government services. Note that it is in the regions where lie the functions of planning and land use, which are constituted as focal elements of information management. As a result of this work, currently 14 of the 15 regions have they own SDI or geospatial information portal implemented.


1. Visor

One of the most important products, from the leadership position of the Ministry of National Assets, Chile SDI Viewer was built by the same institution, which aims to make available land information and provide background for decision-making. Currently, displays information generated by 15 ministries and 20 public services, arranged in layers that can be layered, are freely available to all users at Updating is performed online by generating institutions using WMS protocols. This tool and its potential have been widely disseminated to various stakeholders in the public, private and academic, with an excellent reception. Note that this viewer, being a particular product that solved problems in different areas, through the provision of geospatial information, has been a key to show the usefulness of efforts.

2. Regional and Sector SDIs

The objective of implementing SDIs in ministries and regional governments is to have an organized framework with human and technological resource to provide geospatial information to institutional management, and also to share it with other organizations. In some cases, large institutions with many directions and dependent utilities (such as the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Agriculture) have managed to unify systems, working with databases of unique and standardized data, and deploy your information from corporate geoportals . Many other ministries have implemented their geospatial data infrastructure to support the management in the area of ??environment, mining, energy, urban planning, development and social justice.

In the case of the regions, the challenge for shaping the SDI is the integration of geospatial information generated at different territorial levels, which requires close coordination in this regard. In this aspect, it has outstanding experiences, such as in the region of Los Ríos in the south of Chile, where the regional government (institution in charge of the regional coordination of geospatial information) has developed a management model incorporated municipalities as information providers to scale detail, feeding the regional SDI from the local area.

3. National policies to Geospatial information

The model of collaborative organization of SDI Chile also has been represented in the process of developing a new institutional structure, in particular for the formulation of a national policy for geospatial information, which defines the strategic direction for the management of public institutions in these areas over the coming years. In this document the objectives and strategic guidelines are structured around four areas: generation of geospatial information, access and use, interoperability and institutional framework.

The formulation of this policy proposal involved many public institutions, and their professionals and authorities, who contributed with their ideas to nourish it. Once the document was processed, has carried out a collective review process, which was applied to all regional SDI coordinators (for the fifteen regions of the country) plus representatives of the ministries related to the management of geospatial information.

4. International participation

In the international sphere, our country is an active participant in the “Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM)”, initiative led by the United Nations organization, which is embodied in the operation of an expert committee that addresses issues such as geospatial information for managing natural hazards, global map for sustainable development, integration of statistical and geographical information and others.

At the continental level, the Executive Secretariat of SDI Chile is vice president of the initiative called `UN-GGIM Americas`, which is the regional expression of UN-GGIM. This organization is focused on support to member countries in their national SDI processes, through the dissemination of good practices, training opportunities and experiences of policies and institutional frameworks implementation.

Finally, the Ministry of National Assets has formal bilateral partnerships with the Republic of Korea through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, in the field of land management, geomatics and cadastre. Under this MOU have materialized activities in both countries, aimed at exchanging experiences, knowledge and building capacity.


Despite the progress materialized so far, the result of intensive work by all the institutions that make up SDI Chile, there are some challenges to address in the short and medium term, including:

  • Advance in have local information, generated and maintained by the 345 municipalities, particularly in digitalization and provide the graphic private land register.
  • Engage citizens in the generation of geospatial information, generating the necessary validation mechanisms.
  • Progress in the implementation of the WFS standard, in order to enable downloading information online, while controlling the intellectual property of the data.
  • And, especially, to advance in the aware of geospatial information to be used in all areas to solve problems and make better decisions.

Matías Fortuño Soto
Executive Secretary SNIT IDE Chile, Ministry of National Assets

Alvaro Monett Hernández
Executive Secretariat SNIT IDE Chile, Ministry of National Assets