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Urban Planning and Information System for Municipal Corporations

G K Tripathy
Tata Infotech Ltd, Mumbai
[email protected]

Burgeoning Information Technology sector has forced Municipal Corporations throughout the world to improve their day-to-day functions and services. Best usages are often in the areas of town planning, utility management, socio-economic planning, infokiosk and property taxation. Mostly their planning and functioning are common and similar. Therefore, the potential of introducing Internet and Intranet based IT solutions are huge and repetitive in nature. Sensing this is a prospect, Tata Infotech studied systematically and scientifically operations of few municipal corporations in India. Through such studies Tata Infotech has developed packaged solutions with the state-of-art technologies GIS, Web and RDBMS to utility planning (PUPIS) and town planning (DPIS). These packaged solutions can be implemented in client-server architecture using intranet or internet backbone. We have implemented these solutions at Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) to automate their day-to-day functioning.

Nashik Municipal Corporation
Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) is authority looking after the Nashik Metropolitan area. It has eleven departments through which the civic operations are carried out. Municipal Commissioner heads the corporation. At present NMC does not have any full -fledged software application which will help the authorities at NMC to take decisions on important matters related to civic operations (Tata Infotech Ltd., 2001).

The Town Planning Department looks after the planning activities of the Municipal Corporation. It looks after the sanctioning of plots for construction, identifying encroachments based on complaints, sanctioning of the TDR, preparing the survey maps, DP maps. The department takes decisions on allocating lands for some specific use. It also manages the reserved lands, buildings under reservations. The Town Planning department needs to have access to the information regarding the development plan details, layout details, road details, areas under reservations so that the decision-making is simplified and the data is available to all the officials in the six ward offices.

The Roads and Building Dept looks after the maintenance of Roads and Buildings of Nashik City. The maintenance of roads includes tarring of DP roads, layout roads. The maintenance involves concretization, tarring, widening etc. Currently there are 1049 km of roads are in Nashik. The department looks after NMC properties on lease in terms of revenue and maintenance. There are 125 school buildings, 13000 toilets, 200 samaj mandirs and 100 health clubs under the building department. The department prepares incident report on daily, weekly, half-yearly and yearly basis.

The Estate and Land Acquisition Department looks after the acquisition of the land under reservations or lands, which are identified for specific purpose. Whenever a land has been identified for acquisition, first the owner of the land is notified. After that the process is initiated for taking over the land. If the owner does not agree to the settlement and refers the matter to court, then the department follows the set procedures. During this procedure, the file related to the matter is sent or received from either collectorate or the department. The details are put on to this file and referred as and when required. When the settlement is done, the details like date of settlement, amount etc is noted and the file is closed. The acquired land is then looked after by Estate dept. It maintains information about the property. The department maintains the registers for immovable property and lands. Encroachment & Taxation Department have currently 6 divisions through which the department functions. The respective divisions look after their areas to monitor the encroachment. The department also looks after the removal of unauthorized properties, encroachment on the roads, open spaces, reserved plots etc. The Encroachment dept takes inputs from the Town Planning department about the properties on which encroachment has been done. Also encroachment on roads is also controlled. Daily or monthly tax is collected from the hawkers in the market area. The respective division collects this and the consolidated figure of the total tax collected is then sent to the head office every month. Also these divisions collect different taxes identified as Misc. Taxes. The consolidated amounts of which are reported to the head office at the end of every month. The department keeps a record of the actions taken on illegal properties on daily basis.

The Health & Sanitation Department looks after the Sanitation of the Nasik city. The Garden Department looks after maintaining of the Gardens in the Nasik city. The Fire Department looks after the prevention of fire and other hazards and takes necessary action during emergency.

The Water Supply department provides water through pipelines to various amenities of the city. It maintains water supply and related infrastructure. The Sewerage Operations department looks after sewerage disposal and maintenance activities besides identifying treatment sites. The Electricity department supplies and maintains electric poles/ bulbs/ supply source/ cabling all over the corporation limit.

The NMC planned to develop an integrated web-GIS based system for which Tata Infotech was appointed. Currently the entire routine operations of 11 departments are done manually. However, some of the departments have stand-alone computers for their activities. The information retrieval is done through different registers and record books. The communication is through post and fax. The communication takes place through number of forms that are signed by the concerned official. The concerned persons prepare the report from the data in the register as required by the higher officials. The levels of computerization are insignificant in these departments. The different reports, registers are generated manually. Functions in different departments are carried out manually. The current volume of manual processing at the different departments makes tracking and follow up difficult. Also the data is recorded at multiple places. Routine and periodic reports are to be compiled with accuracy and speed. Manual procedures are tedious, less productive and time consuming which directly leads to subjective decision-making. The objective of this study was to understand the working and state the requirements of the 11 departments of NMC. The objective of developing the web-GIS based application system is to improve the functioning of these departments by automation, enabling the prompt decision-making by analysis, easy information retrieval and timely, accurate, complete and updated information on corporation. The above system, which is proposed, will have a centralized database residing on the dedicated server for GIS containing all the data of the NMC accessible to all the users of the departments using maps and reports instantly. This will increase their productivity and result in the prompt decision-making.

Overview of Solution
Urban planning and information system was implemented over intranet backbone (Fig. 1) and using Windows NT server. The GIS based system has 3 modules consistently for all 11 departments. They are, Data Entry, Report Generation and GIS based query system. All the three modules can be accessed from remote machines using a browser. The only perquisites being that the terminal nodes are connected to the server via Internet or Intranet. Data Entry screens are used for entering data related to the various entities in the system. For example, data related to Town Planning department module can be entered using the TDR Properties Entry screen. The entered data is stored in an Oracle 8i RDBMS module. This data is used subsequently to link with the plot maps so as to link with the property location and related information. Figure 3 illustrates the outputs from the system. For all 11 departments under corporation namely Water Supply, Sewerage Operations, Electricity, Town Planning, Roads and Building Construction, Health and Sanitation, Estate and Land Acquisition, Administration/ Encroachment & Misc. Taxation, Fire, Garden and Accounts, the paper and survey maps were digitized and the related attributes were entered into database. Attribute data were stored in the RDBMS (Oracle 8i) and spatial data in MapInfo. The system provides the users of the NMC, tools to query, update & analyze individual department information for taking prompt decisions. The users have options to view the maps on screen and retrieve information required for decision-making. The system generates consolidated reports periodically as required by the user.

Fig. 1: Urban Planning and Information System Networking

The main screen of the system is linked to all the departments (Fig. 2) and to the user administration module. The user enters into different modules using secured login information given by the system administrator. The main part of the screen shows the NMC map along with map navigation utilities like Zoom In, Zoom Out, Pan and Layer control map navigation helps to navigate through the map in an easy way. By using Zoom in and Zoom out option the user will be able to see the map in different scales and will be able to browse to the detail macro to micro level features. The pan option is to move the map on the map screen. Under the Querying option, all the required queries will be listed which will be understandable to the user. The option for Reports enables the user to generate reports related to their individual department. The Data Entry option allows the user to navigate to the concerned screens for the data entry. All the data entry screens have facilities like add-, delete-, modify-, query record, record navigation (next-, previous-, last-, first record). In the layer customization option the user is given the option to change the properties of map layers like scale, visibility, labeling etc for better viewing.

Fig. 2: Urban Planning and Information System

Fig. 3: Web-GIS based Thematic Display of Electricity Supply & Respective Poles

Map making and geographic analysis are not new, but a GIS performs these tasks faster and with more sophistication than traditional manual methods do. Without owning the individual software, the Internet GIS technology has opened new paths for disseminating, sharing, displaying, and processing spatial information on the Internet. Web-based solutions provide a low-cost, efficient way to deliver map products to users. The urban planning and information system is a step towards web-GIS based solution, which is certainly helping public in a big way. The utility departments of NMC are encouraged to view maps and data using a PC sitting comfortably in their ward offices thereby not visiting head offices as often they did earlier. Fire and Health department departments find it useful during emergency services since all information is brought around the hot spots with the click of a button. The most beneficial amongst all departments are the roads and building and town planning. The search for maps and documents seems to be over. Where hours are counted to locate maps, now that uncertainty is over. Overall the department officers find the system too much beneficial. The future of this system lies on sharing the information to the public and to other municipal corporations of India and world via www.


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