The Demography Department of the Institute for Social Sciences, Humboldt University in Berlin, the first European GeoMedia Research Grant recipient, has chosen to use GeoMedia technology to develop a data management system that will enable the people of Berlin access to a rich knowledge base of socio-demographic information through the Web. Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions awarded the university $5,000 (U.S.) and a $50,000 software donation as part of an innovative education program to encourage applied geospatial research. The Demography Department is undertaking the research project to address the need for a comprehensive, easily accessible data management system to link the city’s disparate data to multiple users in an interactive environment.
With rapid demographic changes in Berlin, the varying impacts of these changes are of major concern to public sector officials, the academic community, and the public. The GeoMedia-based system will be used to help prevent the city’s vulnerable areas from further decay while providing public service agencies such as the Senate Department of Urban Development with the most up-to-date, reliable information for better decision making. The system will be the first of its kind in the city since no municipal agency or local academic research organization currently provides this service in Berlin.
The proposed Web site will include information such as what areas of the city have the most population losses and largest influx of new inhabitants, and the demographic characteristics of neighborhoods with the greatest social vulnerabilities. The information will be available through any standard Web browser and accessed easily by clicking on map objects or map-enabled thematic queries. With this information, organizations like the Department of City Planning will be better equipped to establish local policies and procedures concerning population stagnation and aging, selective sub urbanization, and high geographic concentrations of new inhabitants in specific areas. While helping to guide the repositioning of the city’s urban system, the university hopes this infrastructure will serve as an example for other cities throughout the country contemplating socio-demographic projects. Updated data will be added to the data management system as it becomes available and if users request specific data. The bilingual presentation of all materials in both English and German will enhance the usefulness of the data for international visitors to the site.