Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is one key new technology and prominent tool that has expanded its use and exerted its influence strongly in a wide variety of fields. Unfortunately, its utilisation of GIS have not found the fertile ground in Turkey yet, despite the importance of the fact that GIS should especially be implemented by central governments as well as local governments. Private companies are already taking advantage of GIS technology in completely diverse fields of application; i.e. as based on Internet, extranet and intranet, it is utilized for and integrated in the purposes of planning, admnistration and exchange of information.
On January 2000, Center for Geographic Information Systems which is a unit founded within the body of Governership of Sakarya, gathered the information pertaining to a total of geographic entities -with their specific features and characteristics- available in the whole city of Sakarya, to be stored effectively on the computer systems. This significant attempt intends to demonstrate the applications that will support micro-level city-planning undertakings as well as macro-level administration and control activities of the Governership on three dimensional digital maps. The layers of different information that will be used by the municipalities and public institutions are processed so that they can be analyzed in order to plan and forecast what is essential for Crisis Management System. Through Intranet-, extranet- and internet-based GIS applications and GIS software utilized for digital mapmaking, particular information pertaining to the city is being provided when necessary.
The pace of the improving computer technologies produce new dimensions for the importance and the effective use of information. Gathering information, storing it, analyzing it, and introducing it into the service of others is critically important since this process proves to be adventageous in the long run. Today, interpreting the output of new technologies is a serious concern. As well as acquiring information, it is equally important to transmit accurate information soundly -without diminishing its wholeness- to the right place at the right time.
Especially after a disaster, people suffer from the lack of vitally important information, because such information never existed or was never kept in a systematic way. This urgently required the handling and implementation of effective systems that utilize the computer technologies. From thereupon, as next to considering the indispensable importance of exchanging of information during such emergency circumstances of an earthquake, Governership of Sakarya decided to utilize the technology under standard and routine type circumstances as well. Center for Information Technology and Center for Geographical Information Systems have been established within the body of Governership. Center for Geographical Information Systems is in the pursuit of more professional purposes.
Center for Information Technology is restructured in such a way that it gathers the information pertaining to the organizations and institutions within the capacity of the Governership and classifies this information systematically to introduce it into the service of people. The information that will be presented to the public is published on the web page that is prepared by Center for Information Technology. To handle the flow of information centrally and arrange the smooth exchange of information, an intranet system for the Governership has been established by Center for Information Technology. After an earthquake takes place, since it is the responsibility of the Governership organize and control all the activities, information systems have been established to control, monitor and update such information as building damage surveys, clearing wreckage and rubble, distribution of tents and aids, the contolling of the stocks, ownership, distribution of prefabric buildings etc. in this respect. A dial-up system has been implemented to ensure the regular flow of up-to-date information to Governership.
Through establishing the Center for Geographical Information Systems, the Governership aims to find permanent solutions to problems as next to short-term ones by integrating the information systems to the critical decision making processes. Related to all issues concerning the responsibilities of the Governership within the borders of Sakarya, digital databases, which provide a suitable medium to perform geographical analysis of the data, have been created. The digital databases are formed of digital map layers and the related specific characteristics as brought together by transferring information gathered from paper-maps with no coordinates or the essential information that was not compiled systematically until that time. Such geographical information as roads, rivers, forests, the type of soil, geological structure, degree of slopes etc. have been inserted in digital maps. Several application software, which are useful for such purposes ranging from finding the most appropriate places for settlement to establishing a crisis management system, are installed on the GIS project to easily access the accurate and up-to-date information necessary for planning and administration activities. Especially, the simulation techniques will help us to assess the scope and extent of the hazard beforehand and determine the tasks to be carried out when a crisis is at hand. The outputs, which created as a result of considering geological structure of the region, the current condition of the faults, the inclinations of the surface, will enable us to generate alternative responses to crisis.
A central GIS file server will be implemented at the Governership to connect all the municipalities, public institutions and organisations to this server. Then, the municipalities, public institutions and organisations will be able to enter information on the system about the activities in their districts or regions and they will be able to view the information of other municipalities, public institutions and organisations. The system, with the motto of “Ask Before Digging!”, enables people to see whether other institutions are digging/drilling or doing such infrastructure activities at the site they will work; and the people will also be able to view the other such institutional information of city regarding supplies and systems of electricity, water, telephone, sewage etc. To enable operation of this architecture at the city of Sakarya, the Center for Geographic Information Systems is currently preparing the digital map layers of the institutions. These digital map layers will later be transferred to the Centers of Geographic Information Systems that the institutions will establish within their organisations. To enable the sharing of all kinds of information either particularly within the intranet systems of the institutions or on a broader base through the use of Internet, analyses supported by maps are performed and presented.
Overall, this article will cover such topics as the specific, local and central application of GIS and the outcome of these applications; and also the activities of Center for GIS at Sakarya Municipality. In this article, general information will be provided about particular, local, central applications of GIS and the operations it undertakes. This article will provide information about the activities of Of GIS Center, which is one of the unique institutions of Turkey established within the Governership of Sakarya. Among the activities of GIS Center of Governership are, the intranet-, extranet-, and Internet-based GIS applications which will extensively broaden the effective sharing of information between institutions, and later extend this process to all of the public. These efforts at Sakarya are part of Turkey’s pilot project carried out on behalf of Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vahap Tecim
Dokuz Eylül University
Member of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences
Coordinator of GIS in Governorship of Bolu