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LoG-IN Based on ArcGIS Server
European Union E-government Transactions Streamlined
While we are awash in a sea of data, the use of relevant information is often restricted because of compatibility and/or security issues. The European Union (EU) is keenly aware of this problem and the critical need to develop clear methodology to encourage greater use of e-government transactions.
One method the EU has implemented to support the creative use of technology is to fund regional projects considered to be innovative and sustainable. The North Sea Region Programme is one such plan. It is specifically designed for countries bordering the North Sea. Encouraging the development of regional projects that cross national boundaries supports multinational cooperation and recognizes that challenges and solutions do not end at a national border.
The flagship of a recently completed regional government project called LoG-IN was developed by a consortium of three of Esri's European distributorsEsri BeLux (Belgium and Luxembourg), Esri (UK) Ltd. (England, Wales, and Ireland), and Esri Geoinformatik GmbH (Germany)as well as the German applications developer and Esri Business Partner con terra.
A favorite phrase of those participating in LoG-IN is "35 local governments, 3 countries, 1 system, 1,001 applications," which succinctly summarizes the project.
Regional governments play a critical role in providing information and services that enhance the local business environment. The LoG-IN project encourages e-government transactions in the North Sea region through the use of networked Internet technology, linking computer databases that have been spatially enabled with GIS software. Providing regional governments with innovative tools and strategies that can be used by business will help them become more directly involved in the local economy.
Because the processing of spatial data is central to the LoG-IN project, the consortium developed a generic information infrastructure (GII). GII makes it possible for users to access heterogeneous databases with the aid of Web services and download them to a geodatabase for editing and publishing regardless of their original file format.
The technical infrastructure of LoG-IN is based on distributed, interoperable software with ArcGIS Server at its center. Other Esri components, such as ArcEditor, are included, as are con terra's SecurityManager and ServiceMonitor and Esri Business Partner (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) Safe Software's SpatialDirect.
At the core of the system is the Administration Workflow Manager, which enables an applications supervisor to oversee the entire process without having to be an information and communication technology (ICT) or GIS expert. In addition, it isn't necessary to install plug-ins for special software routines. If, however, browser-based enhancements are required, Java applets, Flash, or scalable vector graphics (SVG) can be integrated into the solution and used on the client side.
The Workflow Manager/ArcGIS Server architecture is not only a state-of-the-art Web publishing tool, but it also provides a fully functional GIS server solution. LoG-IN partners can further enhance their respective systems with additional applications that perform functions such as checking data integrity, performing spatial analyses, or creating reports within the administrative workflow.
Three Regional Governments Log In
The regional governments participating in the LoG-IN project are Landkreis Rotenburg, Germany; Norfolk County Council, England; and Intercommunale Leiedal, Belgium. They all share some of the same problems in developing innovative, IT-related solutions to support their administrative functions. The implemented GII is a good example of economy of scale because none of the 35 municipalities involved in the project could develop a project of this scope by itself.
Landkreis Rotenburg, GermanyEfficiency Evident
In Rotenburg, the LoG-IN system is allowing businesses to conduct necessary transactions with regional government agencies through local offices rather than physically visiting those agencies. The system has consolidated a whole range of services and information that was previously scattered across several departments housed in separate locations.
Comments Claudia Harms, the LoG-IN project manager at Landkreis Rotenburg, "Basically, it's about efficiency. By implementing LoG-IN, we have reduced redundant data storage and the bureaucracy often associated with regional government procedures. We have subsequently reduced the workload of our staff and the waiting time for those seeking information or services from us."
Norfolk County Council, EnglandGeospatial Data Mining
The Norfolk County Council had already been working on getting better information from the data it collects by cross-referencing databases, such as business registrations, building permits, and tax records. The addition of GIS through the LoG-IN project allows access to the data in a form everyone can recognizemaps. For example, instead of lists of addresses for every business in the municipality, the actual locations can be seen on a map with pop-up boxes containing additional details.
Tim Anderson, GIS coordinator for Norfolk County Council, says, "Local authorities are generally very cautious about the risk associated with initiating new projects. Because the LoG-IN project involves three regional governments, it allows us to jointly develop common solutions and minimizes the startup risk."
Intercommunale Leiedal, BelgiumOn the Fast Track
From implementing an automated book checkout system to electronically submitting plans for home extensions, Leiedal residents have enthusiastically adopted the convenience and efficiency of LoG-IN. Though Leiedal is a traditional region where change comes slowly, residents recognized the benefits of their municipal GIS implementation that provide, among other things, alerts for road closings and automatic notification of affected businesses when the Tour de France cycles through.
Observes Filip Meuris, LoG-IN project leader in Belgium, "We know from experience that local governments have the data, skills, and ambition to serve GIS data via the Internet to their citizens but lack the means to do it. GII enables them to fulfill this dream."
He continues, "On average, a decision made by a local authority has a life span of 50 years. Unless local authorities have access to correct and sufficient information, bad decisions could be made, and the consequences might be suffered by a whole generation. Once relevant government agencies were convinced of the advantages of data sharing with local authorities, there were no problems in cracking open the databases."
For more information, contact Lawrence Beernaert, Intercommunale Leiedal (e-mail: Lawrence.Beernaert@leiedal.be, tel.: 00-32-56-24-16-16), or visit www.login-project.net/php/data.php or www.govmaps.eu.