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Users – Vouching by GIS

In the case of any technology, users have the real story to tell. The success of a user is a measure of success for the technology. With high level of awareness and acceptability, geospatial technologies have a good number of best practices all across Malaysia. Let us know about a few of them here.

     IWK’s integrated GIS (IGIS) is an application based on the integration of existing information systems
– Ir. Dorai Narayana, IWK

Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK)
Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd, wholly-owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated, is responsible for providing sewerage services, operating and maintaining over 5,750 public sewage treatment plants (STPs) and 13,000km networks of sewerage pipelines since 1994. IWK started a pilot GIS project in 1997- 98. It was at small scale and covered only Kuala Lumpur (KL). Lack of information and budget constrains held the project from expansion.

Says Ir. Dorai Narayana, Head, Planning Services Section, “We revived this in 2002. This time we decided to take a two-pronged approach. We commenced a GIS system at a macro level nationwide and included data collected on a catchment basis. Efforts were made to locate STPs, their respective service areas, and linked to attributes in the asset database. By 2005, all sewage treatment plants and their service areas have been mapped. At a more detailed level, key areas were incorporated in the micro-level GIS. “

Today, all the information/maps are in IWK’s regional offices and it has established a common database at its headquarters. The information has been converted into Oracle Spatial database and deployed on the Web. This is live since February 2009 and authorised users can access this.

IWK’s integrated GIS (IGIS) is now used to manage information needs of various departments. This is an application based on the integration of existing information systems. IWK proposes IGIS as a step towards great access and efficient retrieval of accurate information with a geographical depiction.

     We installed a system which is capable of giving early warning with in 15 minutes of the occurrence of tsunami
– Alui Bahari, MMD

Malaysian Meteorological Department
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) under the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) has an extensive use of satellite imagery for weather prediction and forecast. Says Alui Bahari, DDG (Application), “We use satellite images from NOAA, MT Sat (Japan) and Chinese satellites for cloud monitoring, hotspot analysis, vegetation index, forest fire monitoring, ocean colour for chlorophyll.”

MMD is using geospatial technologies for earthquake and tsunami monitoring. “We monitor earthquakes 24×7 and also the tsunami. In fact after 2004 event, we managed to install a system which is capable of giving early warning with in 15 minutes of the occurrence of tsunami,” says Bahari.

     Many people use GIS for mapping purposes. But we, at PLUS, fully exploit the analytical capabilities of GIS
– Dr Zainal A Ahmad, PLUS Expressways

Plus Expressways Bhd
PLUS Expressways Group is the largest toll expressway operator in South East Asia. It is involved in investment holding and the provision of several highway and expressway operation services across Malaysia. PLUS is one of the early companies that started using GIS in the 1980s. In 1986, PLUS converted all its engineering drawings into digital format and put them in GIS.

It slowly graduated in the use of geospatial technologies and today, PLUS is a major user of aerial photographs and satellite imagery for planning, design, identification of slope, hydrographic studies etc. It is extensively using geospatial technologies for a structured and integrated approach of all highway and expressway maintenance through its Total Expressway Maintenance System (TEMAN). Says Dr Zainal A Ahmad, Head of Research and Technical Support Division emphatically, “Many people use GIS for mapping purposes. But we, at PLUS, fully exploit the analytical capabilities of GIS.”

PLUS has ambitious plans for the future. Though GIS at the moment is being used at project level, PLUS has grand enterprise vision. It is also looking at hosting geotagged 3D photos and videos of traffic junctions, rest areas and expressway intersections on the Web for the convenience of the users and for maintenance purposes.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), the largest electric utility company in Malaysia and also the largest power company in Southeast Asia. It serves over seven million customers throughout Peninsular Malaysia and also the eastern State of Sabah. TNB’s core activities are in generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

Tenaga Nasional started a pilot project in GIS for power distribution in Putra Jaya in 2002. It was a two year project and was a successful one. GIS was used for network mapping and customer billing information. In 2007, TNB embarked on enterprise GIS called Corporate GIS. This is a 10-year project that intends to integrate all departments with GIS. TNB has already started work in Klang Valley and it intends to finish the work in four years. Once completed, TNB will be able to come up with lot of innovative applications for the customers and efficiency will be built into the system.

     GIS is also being used for operations and maintenance, management of information for strategic planning
– Tan Yong Teck, Telekom Malaysia

Telekom Malaysia
The leading integrated telecommunications company in Malaysia, Telekom Malaysia (TM), uses GIS for a variety of purposes. “The main utility is in the planning of assets. GIS is also being used for operations and maintenance, management of information for strategic planning. This apart, major initiative in Telekom Malaysia now is the planning of high speed broadband,” Tan Yong Teck, Assistant General Manager, Geomatics Products & Services.

Telekom Malaysia created base maps and is selling the same to various government organisations like Tenaga Nasional and Water Department. TM is currently moving into providing telemetry services in navigation.

Department of Town and Country Planning (JPBD)
The Department of Town and Country Planning is a leading agency in promoting town and country planning services in Malaysia. It organises, regulates and coordinates land development, usage and conservation.

Giving information about GIS usage in the department, Ramli Bin Hj. Zulkifli, Director, says, “I can’t say that there are great achievements, but we are using GIS for federal planning purposes. We have not gone to a stage of using GIS as an analytical tool yet.

We are looking forward towards that. We are planning to bring planning initiatives at local, state and federal levels onto one platform and build an enterprise level GIS. To achieve this, efforts are on to standardise data and to build metadata. “

     It takes quite a bit of persuasion to make individual departments share data. We plan to integrate all depts in phases
– Jaafar bin Hj Abd Rahman, DBKL

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL)
From a small town, Kuala Lumpur has evolved into the biggest city of Malaysia and a major tourist destination in Asia. One organisation that can take credit for its planning, development and effective management is the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). To make Kula Lumpur an excellent world class city, DBKL is using geospatial technologies in a varied way.

In line with Malaysian Master Plans, DBKL is utilising GIS for its planning purposes. Though not used as an analysis tool right now, DBKL has ambitious plans to build an enterprise level DBKL GIS Net. “Under a pilot project, we have integrated five departments – Panning Department, Health Department, Master Plan Department, Valuation and Property Management Department and Landscape and Urban Cleanliness Department – and the impact is very good,” says Jaafar bin Hj Abd Rahman, Director, ICT Department.

Citing the challenges involved, Jaafar says, “GIS is expensive. Also, most of the departments are not willing to share their data. It takes quite a bit of persuasion to make individual departments share their data. We plan to integrate all departments in phases.”

Government departments, private companies, utilities and service providers all across Malaysia have well woken up to the significance of geospatial technologies, utilising the second mover advantage and building enterprise level GIS systems using latest offerings of the technologies. The bottom line is geospatial technologies are being well lapped up by Malaysia, which is on the fast-track of development.