Spatial Data Infrastructure of Piedmont Region (SITAD)

Published on: 02/09/2008
SITAD (Sistema Informativo Territoriale Ambientale Diffuso) is a regional Spatial Data Infrastructure in Piedmont region (Italy), created in 2003 and developed in line with the European Commission Directive "INSPIRE" (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe) and with the most important national initiatives (CNIPA, IntesaGIS…). SITAD facilitates the coordination of public sector organisations to collect, manage, distribute and reuse spatial data concerning environment, urban planning, natural resources, pollution and so on. The main objective of SITAD initiative is to facilitate access and use of spatial data within public entities and citizens, focusing the attention on technological and non-technological aspects, in order to overcome a lot of common obstacles: duplication of initiatives and economic efforts either on a local and a regional level, non sufficient information and dispersion of data and products, limited diffusion of spatial data and products toward citizens and private sector or non optimal use of economic resources.

Policy Context

The need for a local SDI in Piedmont derives from three main factors: -Great involvement of local public authorities in activities regarding spatial information, as collecting, managing, distributing and using spatial data at regional, provincial and municipal levels; -High fragmentation of public sector organisations, with more than 1200 municipalities (out of 8100 in Italy); -The presence of CSI-Piemonte, a Consortium of local Public Administration Authorities founded in 1977 by law: CSI is involved in several e-Government project and coordinates many activities among associated bodies on ICT, data-exchange and data-sharing services, geographic information systems. Piedmont Region, thanks to the experience in legal interoperability started with the realization of the “Discipline of use” for the Infrastructure of Spatial Data SITAD, has prosecuted on this way with a new analysis, in order to realize a more complete “Guidelines about the use of geographic information” and to create a set of “standard geolicense”. These new click-licenses will be the aim to protect geospatial resource of Public Administration bodies, but also to help final user to know usage rights related to a specific geospatial resource. The “geolicense” defines terms and conditions for the licensee (end user), who acquires a set of rights (permitted uses, display, download, format, distribution).

Description of target users and groups

The main objective of SITAD initiative is to facilitate access and use of spatial data within public entities and citizens, trying to avoid the negative fallouts such as lack of coordination and harmonization.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

The INSPIRE initiative underlines that most of the quality spatial information are available at local and regional level, but these information are difficult to find and to use in a broader context for a lot of reasons. The most important obstacles in overcoming this situation on spatial information in Europe are the fragmentation, the gaps in availability of geographical information and problems of identifying, accessing or using data that are available. Recently there has been great interest and commitment in developing, collecting and using spatial data, and in Europe, but also in Italy, many initiatives have been started by national and local public authorities. The biggest difficulties arise from harmonization of the different projects on technical, organizational and regulatory side.

Technology solution

Taking for granted that the use of standards is the only way to reach interoperability of spatial data-sets and services, SITAD adopted ISO and OGC specifications to build the core part of the SDI. SITAD Infrastructure is provided with a number of tools, such as an easy accessible unique and centralized metadata catalogue, two standardized web forms which permit the public entities to search and retrieve and to compile metadata relating to information, products and services, with functionalities of print and export. These tools follow ISO19115 and DubliCore specifications in order to create metadata catalogue, it is joining in draft of ISO/TC211 and CEN/TC287 about geographical information. Data access is offered on-line, via web services: actually, spatial data are accessed via on-line mapping services (web map services) and served dynamically to clients. The architectural schema of spatial servers has been designed to be platform and proprietary independent, in a web mapping approach based OpenGIS Consortium (OGC) specifications: with standards-based interoperable Web mapping, each map server implements a common interface, a messaging protocol such as the WMS interface for accepting requests and returning responses. In this moment a WFS experimentation is starting, in order to allow data sharing between stakeholders. Technology choice: Standards-based technology

Main results, benefits and impacts

The goal of the “dissemination plan” realized by SITAD Community, is the creation of a thematic network, in which Piedmont Region and SITAD carry out a strong coordination activity, in order to generate understanding and consensus across Europe, through the use of best practices and solutions. Participation in national and international initiatives, moving beyond the local level, is absolutely necessary in order to transfer knowledge and awareness to supporters and other GI actors on the theme of geographic information enrichment. Standards and specifications used for geographical data and cooperation between SITAD and other territorial subjects, both at national and international level, contribute to the spread and dissemination of added-value spatial information and to solve some problems concerning harmonization of different spatial data initiatives. Besides activities and initiatives that have already been started, it will also be necessary preparing future feasible cross-border networking and sustainability plans, concerning future trans-national projects and activities lined to the quality of GI, such as trans-regional data services connectivity and interoperability. In this context the comparison between SITAD and other similar projects or frameworks will be very important. Even if the differences between systems or functions are innumerable or instead are few, it will be possible in any case to make existing systems interoperable, accessible and useable as much as possible. This aim is achieved for example by participation of Piedmont Region and CSI Piemonte to some eContentplus projects, as eSDI-Net+, GIS4EU and EURADIN. Some projects will be analysed for just one or many specific features, i.e. we will take into consideration systems using WMS protocol, systems making a thematic network or using standard and international specifications, and then they will be compared with SITAD solutions, in order to improve the common framework of a shared thematic network.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

SITAD is a Spatial Data Infrastructure, and for its role it is shared with the whole Public Administration of Piedmont Region. With an initial cost for the implementation, now many regional bodies are using this Infrastructure in order to share their territorial and environmental data and metadata, saving time and costs.

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - the importance of sharing information among PAs and citizens, in order to improve riuse and saving time and costs; Lesson 2 - the attention to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and data licenses; Lesson 3 - the importance of taking part to several initiatives led in different institutional forums, at national and international level, in order to create a Community interested in GI field. Scope: Regional (sub-national)