USING GIS AND CARTOGRAPHIC TECHNOLOGIES TO EFFICIENTLY MANAGE ENVIRONMENTAL DATA IN THE COUNCIL FOR GEOSCIENCE, SOUTH AFRICA
Council for Geoscience, South Africa
The Council for Geoscience works on a large project titled A strategic Water Management Plan for the Prevention of Water Ingress into Underground Workings of the Witwatersrand Mining Basins. The nature and amount of data collected for this project is very specialized and only available to staff familiar with GIS. For most of the decision makers the data also appears uninteresting and difficult to understand. Although GIS provided powerful tools to analyze the data and allow users to visualize various scenarios, the overall use and application of GIS techniques in environmental science is limited and need to be encouraged. It was soon realized that GIS and Cartography will form a fundamental part in the business process of the project. The aim of this paper will be to elaborate on the GIS and cartographic tasks exercised during the project.
Apart from the production of final maps, reports and graphs that describe the status of the environment, impact of contamination and areas at risks, it was necessary to create another form of communication. Most of the project members do not have access to a GIS system although it was required from them to integrate and manipulate this large variety of data into tangible products. An Information Management System consisting of a database and an application was developed to allow project members to access the spatial component of the data via different modules. The application consists of two parts, one for managing all factual data on the database and a GIS part for the viewing and editing of data. All the data are saved into a relational database structure in order to avoid redundancies.
The application was developed with user friendly interfaces. External data such as data from the CGS corporate database that is hosted on an ORACLE server, can also be accessed through this application. The application also consists of two approaches for viewing spatial data namely through a GIS Viewer which can be used without having GIS installed on the users PC and a GIS Editor extension for supporting standardized map production.
With the development of this fundamental application, it is believed that this method of data dissemination will support all future projects in the CGS.