There are plans to expand the use of GIS in the future

There are plans to expand the use of GIS in the future

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Jerusalem Municipality had instituted the GIS Centre in 1993. What initiated such an action and what were the primary objectives behind it?Uri Lupolianski
Uri Lupolianski
Mayor, Jerusalem Municipality

The municipality of one of the oldest cities in the world has been applying GIS to serve its citizens better. In an exclusive interview with GIS Development Mayor of Jerusalem РUri Lupolianski shares Jerusalem Municipality’s experience of using GIS.

Jerusalem Municipality had instituted the GIS Centre in 1993. What initiated such an action and what were the primary objectives behind it?
Two processes reached their peak in 1993. The first was the realization by the municipality management of the unique contribution that can be achieved using GIS technology, especially for an organization with a wide array and volume of activity such as the Jerusalem Municipality. The second was a substantial reduction in the costs of implementing such a system as well as the introduction of products that allow better integration with the organization’s systems and adjustments to specific needs.

What are the key areas of Municipal GIS applications, which have benefited the citizens of Jerusalem?
GIS technology has helped in various fields. The major ones are city planning, traffic management, including traffic safety, standardizing all issues pertaining to the regional aspect between various municipal units and between the municipality and outside organizations, such as telephony, cables, electricity, police, interior ministry etc, improving the decision making process and safety and security issues.

What were the main hurdles faced in implementing municipal GIS in Jerusalem?
The major obstacles were lack of sufficient knowledge and professional experience, lack of awareness by some of the potential clients/users of the usefulness and necessity of the GIS system, high costs and the need to raise proper funding, high volume of multiple maps, mapping layers and data.

How did you address the issues like hiring trained professionals, arranging financial requirements and providing human resource training for establishing the GIS initiative in your municipality?
The municipality started working with a small team that had experience in planning and engineering systems yet had no GIS experience. Through this team the municipality defined the vision and concept of the GIS, which was innovative at the time. This team has studied the leading GIS technologies, as well as the methods of implementation in similar organizations (mainly municipalities) in Israel and around the world. That team has developed a prototype for several GIS applications and presented them to the various municipal wings. The wings that recognized the potential were the first to receive full application, tailored to their needs. At the same time, we’ve established the infrastructure database: zoning, land designation, photogrametrics, ortophoto, and software tools to monitor and absorb the maps and data. The mapping was done in cooperation with other interested bodies in order to reduce costs. We’ve also developed help applications and general engines to save the costs of development. To help in managing the data and assure standardization we’ve developed advanced Meta-data- management tools.

What is the national nodal government organization driving the GIS community in Israel?
No, there is no central government body that drives the GIS community.

Do you have any plans to introduce the use of Internet GIS in the provision of municipal services in Jerusalem?
Yes. The GIS system is integrated in the municipal website which provides extensive information to its users. There are cases where the data is combined with no-GIS databases. The GIS also provides tools for web applications that aren’t specifically a part of it, such as adding dynamic maps to website that include addresses, assistance in locating schools for children according to address and type of institution etc.

What is the future vision for municipal GIS applications in Jerusalem?
There are plans to expand the use of GIS in the future. All planning and execution bodies in the city will be linked to joint databases in order prepare and coordinate work plans, coordinate infrastructure and provide joint planning infrastructure. Information will be available to all the planning bodies in Jerusalem about what’s available and planned in any part of the city. Planners will be able to draw information directly from the municipal database regarding maps, approved plans and infrastructure. The planner will then deliver the plans on top of the computerized map and every construction or land change will be automatically reflected in the database.