Web GIS: ‘Mapping the perception of commoners’

Web GIS: ‘Mapping the perception of commoners’

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Hyderabad, India: The session on Web GIS at Geospatial World Forum 2011 proved to be a platform for knowledge sharing for industry, academicians, bureaucrats and technical experts. Chaired by Dr. Aniruddha Roy, Vice-President (Strategic Business Group) Navayuga, the session offered 11 insightful presentations from all over the globe. The topics in the session ranged from applications of GIS for forests and wild life conservation to urban planning and efficient power distribution.

Widening the scope of the web GIS applications in urban planning, M Kyatta et al demonstrated how this technology can be used effectively by mapping the perception of commoners in some selected cities in Finland. In their study carried out in Helsinki, from a psychological perspective, they suggested that ‘SoftGIS’ could prove to be a valuable tool in documenting people’s perception of their surroundings and thereby bridging inhabitant experiences and planning practices. They have also called for “Participatory Planning Practices” with the help of web GIS.

In another interesting presentation, National Informatics Centre (NIC) Technical Director Vivek Chitale shared his experiences with the GeoForest project in Madhya Pradesh, which was designed to bring forest administration and conservation into the fold of GIS. “Compiling, procuring and structuring the data at initial stages required lot of man hours. Once that task is accomplished, things have become much easier for officials to carry out forest administration in an efficient manner,’’ Chitale informed.

Another presentation about the applicability of web GIS for administration was done by Dr A Mohan Sr Technical Director NIC Tamil Nadu. Detailing about the project his team carried out in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, he hoped that Web GIS for decentralized district planning would be beneficial to the people and also informed that this model would be replicated in all the districts of the state. On the other hand, Associate Professor Engineering Staff College of India D Kaval Kumar, from his case-study in Hyderabad showed the usefulness of Single Centralised Dataset. He hinted that this method could be useful in continuous updating process of data about any given space.

Dr Pradeep Nagaraj of Rolta India IT Solutions expressed that adapting to Web 2.0 is the need of the hour. “GIS technology needs multiple sources for data and information. At this juncture, it is not wise a decision to rely on single source. Technology should be designed so that commoners can also take active part in sharing information for any project,’’ he opined, while expressing societal concerns.

While Prof S Amaduzzi, University of Udine, Italy presented a case study about cost-effectiveness of the GIS technology in the service sector, Yashita Arora Marketing Executive Infotech India showed how efficiently power distribution can be monitored right from the generation stage till it reaches the end-user. In his case-study on Peroni Beer in Italy, Prof Amaduzzi elaborated that application of web GIS has helped the Beer firm in reducing costs to cater to their customers. “Apart from the cost-effectiveness, it helped in reducing the driving time of the workers and simultaneously increasing their presence,’’ he said. Yashita Arora elucidated how Web GIS helped their clients take up correcting measures to curb power pilferage and also to provide better distribution and supply to their customers. Another Italian Professor Maria Antonia Brovelli explained about EST-WA: A Voxel 3D Tool for Web Visualisation of Environmental Variables in a lucid manner.

Reflecting on Urban expansions and role of GIS, Associate Professor Manomaniam Sundaranar University, John P Soundranayagam provided an analysis of land uses based on his case study done in Tuticorin city in Tamil Nadu. “A comparison of data about the city from 1969 to 2003 with the aid of GIS helped us locate the expansion of the city. These observations should help the planners to come up with better models for urbanization,’’ he felt, as the data analysis suggested that fresh water sources are depleting in the city.

The proliferation of GIS technology in everyday life comes with a problem of data and information security. Addressing the same problem Associate Professor M Upendra Kumar of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, explained about the models for Spatial Web Services Security Architectures. “Many studies have pointed that there are chances for misuse of any technology if the security is in compromised state. There is an increasing need to tackle the issue in the present times,’’ he noted.

Source: Our Correspondent