Home Articles UAE – ADSIC: ‘AD-SDI is integral to eSociety vision’

UAE – ADSIC: ‘AD-SDI is integral to eSociety vision’

Abdul Karim
Executive Manager – GIS
Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre (ADSIC)

Geospatial technologies are becoming an important element in all e-initiatives. What are ADSIC’s initia- tives in this aspect?
The AD-SDI is an important cornerstone of ADSIC’s eGovernment programme. This initiative is not only bringing together, coordinating and leveraging the substantial investments in geospatial information and technology, but is also providing the foundation for spatially enabling many eGovernment services. There are many types and levels of initiatives that the AD-SDI programme is facilitating within the broader context of eGovernment. These include the development of generic spatial application service modules that can be consumed by the online services being developed by various entities. Likewise, we are preparing a “gMaturity” evaluation approach that will allow us to assess the readiness of each of our stakeholders to be effective contributors and users of the AD-SDI. The aim is to have every entity in Abu Dhabi become an international showcase of best practices within their own domain.

Can you elaborate on the efforts to build a spatial data infrastructure in Abu Dhabi?
The building of AD-SDI is seen as a process rather than a project or event. It was recognised early on that there was a need to build an initial foundation capability that could be used to better understand the challenges ahead, as well as raise the awareness of leaders, decision-makers, and managers across Abu Dhabi government about how GIS can be used most effectively within their own business areas.This was accomplished in phase 1 of the programme in 2007. We are now through over half of the second phase of development building upon that initial infrastructure to strengthen the community and its governance, to convene working groups to develop and agree on standards, to enhance the functional capabilities of the geospatial portal and data clearinghouse, to align more than 70 ongoing major data development projects, to institutionalise data sharing agreements and procedures, to strengthen the legal and policy aspects of the initiative, and to grow the community from the original eight participating entities to nearly 40 today. In the next phase, we envision that the initiative will move from simply sharing information to increased applications across all sectors of Abu Dhabi. We hope that ADSDI will ultimately become an important and integral part of an eventual eSociety vision that ADSIC and many stakeholders are aspiring to achieve.

Do you foresee the role of private partnership in effective governance?
We feel that private partnership will play an important role in the development and societal utilisation of AD-SDI outcomes. Among the nine pillars of the Abu Dhabi policy strategy is specifically highlighted that we need to build a large and empowered private sector, and that we need to build and diversify the economy. We have just started the process with a tender to establish a partnership in the development and maintenance of a comprehensive navigable road database. As the process of consolidating and integrating all the government information is coming to a critical mass in the current phase of AD-SDI development, we expect in the coming years that we will step up the agenda for facilitating and promoting public-private partnerships.

Geospatial technologies are moving from desktop to server based to enterprise systems. What is the status in various government departments of Abu Dhabi? Any plans to make different government departments ‘connected’?
The ADSIC eGovernment programme has established a data centre and service oriented architecture approach that is being used to provide efficient access to online government services, including those that are geospatially based or supported. According to the IT architecture standards developed by the eGovernment programme two years ago, all government entities are required to move towards enterprise systems, and the provision of more government services online, coordinated through a central hub. Geospatial services and applications are being structured under this same SOA architecture, which will make it easier for all government entities and the public to tap into and utilise geospatial information and applications.