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Expanding SDI Hierarchy for Countries With Non_federated System a Case Study of Iran

Expanding SDI Hierarchy for Countries With Non_federated System a Case Study of Iran

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Published by: Hubert Yadjemi on Nov 16, 2011
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World Applied Sciences Journal 3 (4): 597-602, 2008ISSN 1818-4952© IDOSI Publications, 2008
Corresponding Author:
Dr. Ali Mansourian, Faculty of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Expanding SDI Hierarchy for Countries with Non-federated System: A Case Study of Iran
 Ali Mansourian
 Mohammad Javad Valadan Zoej
 Faculty of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
The need to geo-spatial data in different applications particularly for knowledge-basedsustainable development is considerable. However, various problems encountered with production,dissemination and accessing geo-spatial data makes users to face with many difficulties when intending touse them. Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is introduced as a solution to these problems. Success of an SDIstrongly depends on partnership among different parties at different administrative levels involved in SDIdevelopment, which makes SDI to have a complex nature. The general SDI Hierarchy model tries tosimplify the complexity of SDI development. However, it is essential to expand this model in order to beadopted for specific initiatives at the implementation phase. This paper proposes expansion of SDIHierarchy for Iran as a country with non-federated system. It also describes the concept and importance of Organizational SDI (OSDI) in developing National SDI (NSDI).
Key word:
Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI)
SDI hierarchy
organizational SDI
It has been estimated that over 80% of governmental data has spatial nature, component,location or basin [1-3]. It has been also observed that alarge majority of all decisions depend on spatialsituation or have spatial effects [4]. The role of spatialinformation to generate knowledge for achievingdecision-making for complex problems has beenincreasingly recognized. Such situation made emergingGeospatial Information Science as a new field of studyin early 1990s that is currently underway [5].Spatial data is vital for promotion of economicdevelopment, improvement of our stewardship of natural resources and protection of the environment [6].Currently, in most of the developed courtiers it iswidely acknowledged that spatial data is a part of thenational infrastructure for which extensive efforts aremade [7]. Today, more and more people are gainingaccess to spatial data and using it in business processesand systems to assist decision-making within andbetween many organizations [8]. However, with such arole of spatial data in everyday business and decisions,there are substantial problems with collection,dissemination, access and usage of these data.Duplication of efforts in spatial data collection,unawareness of data availability, institutional andmilitary-type security barriers for dissemination orexchange of data and heterogeneity of systems can benamed as some of the general problems with spatialdata. Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is an initiativeintends to resolve these problems by creating anappropriate partnership environment for data collection,dissemination, access and usage.With this in mind, during the last decade differentnations have had extensive efforts on developing theirown SDIs (particularly at the national level) as part of their infrastructural activities. However, none of theseinitiatives has reported complete implementation of anSDI. It is actually due to complex nature of SDI anddifferent problems associated with SDI implementation.As a result, in the context of different research activitiesand based on different SDIs experiences, it has beentried to identify the problems with SDI developmentand then to develop different models for resolvingthem.In this paper, the general SDI model and the SDIHierarchy model will be reviewed. Then, based on acase study in Iran, the SDI Hierarchy model will beexpanded. It will be depicted that the expanded modelcan better clarify required basic arrangements at eachlevel of hierarchy and their relationships for developingSDIs.
MATERIALS AND METHODSSDI components and nature:
SDI can be defined asinitiative intent to create an environment in which allstakeholders can cooperate with each other and interactwith technology to better achieve their objectives at
World Appl. Sci. J., 3 (4): 597-602, 2008
different political/administrative levels [9]. SDI isfundamentally about facilitation and coordination of the exchange and sharing of spatial data betweenstakeholders in the spatial data community. Itconstitutes dynamic partnership between inter- andintra- jurisdictional stakeholders [10]. SDI initiativeshave evolved in response to the need for cooperationbetween users and producers of spatial data to nurturethe means and environment for spatial data sharing anddevelopment [11].Experiences of various SDI initiatives highlightthat development of SDI is matter of different technicaland non-technical challenges [12, 13]. Technicalmerging at multiple resolutions, non uniformity of datadensities, positional accuracy issues and data standardsare some examples of technical obstacles [14]. Lack of awareness on concept and applications of SDI, privacyissues, entrenched bureaucratic practices, cultural issuesfor data sharing, costs/lack of financial incentive, lack of suitable agreements/ contracts, custodianship issues,inappropriate political environment, lack of theapplication of metadata standards and data pricing canbe named as some of the non-technical issues [12].Rajabifard and Williamson [10] and Mansourian
et al
.[15, 16] also introduced a number of important socio-technical factors and issues relating to SDIdevelopment from conceptual, technical, political,institutional and financial perspectives. In this respectRajabifard and Williamson [10] highlighted that threecategories of factors namely environmental factors,capacity factors and SDI organization factors stronglyaffect partnership in development of SDI.Different initiatives have considered differentcomponents for SDIs in order to be used for SDIsimplementation. These components are interconnectedand aim to create an environment in which people (dataproducers, value-adders and users) can access and usespatial data. By studying these components, fivegeneral core components can be considered for SDIsincluding people, policies, standards, accessing network and data [17] that all are affected by technology (Fig.1). SDI core components have dynamic nature due tochange in technology and also change in user needs. Asa result, SDI has a dynamic nature.Figure 1 shows the general SDI model includingSDI core components and their relation with each otherthat is adopted for Iran, the case study of the research.As Fig. 1 shows, appropriate policies, standards andaccessing networks can facilitate the relation betweenpeople and data with respect to collection,dissemination, access and usage.For any SDI initiative in any community, the fivecore components of SDI should be satisfied withrespect to the community’s needs. Therefore, for SDIFig. 1: SDI Components [17]initiatives the SDI conceptual model should be initiallydeveloped by expanding SDI core components withrespect to the community needs [16-20] and then theSDI is implemented based on the developed conceptualmodel.Among the SDI core components, people has a keyrole in developing SDIs, because success of an SDIinitiative in a community highly depends oncollaboration among different stakeholders (people/ organizations) supporting the initiative. For example,development and implementation of a National SDI(NSDI) requires collaboration of different organizationsat different political/administrative (e.g. provincialand local) levels. Such situation makes developmentof SDI to have a complex nature as has beenhighlighted by Rajabifard
et al
. [17]. SDI Hierarchymodel tries to reduce such complexity by breakingSDI initiatives to different levels.
SDI hierarchy:
In order to reduce the complexity of SDI development, the Spatial Hierarchy Reasoning(SHR) theory was applied to SDI and hence the generalSDI Hierarchy model was developed [17]. Figure 2illustrates this model in which an SDI Hierarchy ismade up of inter-connected SDIs at local,state/provincial, national, regional (multi-national) andglobal levels. These levels have vertical and horizontalrelationships as has been shown in Fig. 2.There are two views on nature of SDI thathelp in better describing and understanding SDIHierarchy [17]. The first view is an Umbrella View,which describes the SDI at a higher level,encompasses all the components of SDIs at levelsbelow. The second view is the Building Block View.According to this view, any level of SDI servers asthe building blocks supporting the provision of spatial data needed by SDIs at higher level in thehierarchy. Based on these views, the SDI hierarchycreates an environment in which decision-makersworking at any level can draw on data from other
World Appl. Sci. J., 3 (4): 597-602, 2008
Fig. 2: SDI Hierarchy Model and the Complex SDIrelationships within and between differentlevels [17]Fig. 3: The hierarchy structure of national organizationslevels depending on the themes, scales, currency andcoverage of the data needed.According to SDI views, in SDI initiativesgenerally policy and standard makings are based onUmbrella View of SDI (top-down) while generatingand gathering fundamental datasets are based onBuilding Block View of SDI (bottom-up).
National SDI of Iran: A case study:
Iran is a countrylocated in middle-east region and has a non-federatedgovernmental system. For administrative purposes, Iranis divided into 30 provinces which are individuallydivided into smaller counties. The president is in chargeof managing executive activities at the national levelthrough the ministries, national organizations andnational councils that all are referred as nationalorganization in this paper. Each of the nationalorganizations has formed different provincialorganizations, in charge of conducting specifictechnical management, planning and executiveactivities in provinces. The provincial organizationshave also formed local organizations for offeringservices at the local level.The general provincial planning is conductedthrough Provincial Planning Council which consists of representatives of provincial organizations. The plansare executed by provincial organizations, while eachprovincial organization follows general policies of therelated national organization. Some of the local servicesor executive activities may be conducted / carried outby local organizations under supervision of provincialorganizations. Figure 3 shows the hierarchy structure of national organizations at the national, provincial andlocal levels.In mid 2004, the Parliament enacted developmentof NSDI in Iran as part of the 4
Development Plan of the country. As a result, a technical committee wasestablishing in order to prepare the NSDI strategic plan.The committee included representatives of differentnational organizations as members and the head of National Center for Spatial Planning (NCSP) inManagement and Planning Organization as thesecretariat as well as the authors of this paper who werealso consultants of the NCSP for preparing the draft of the strategic plan. The strategic plan had to include thevision, mission and aims of NSDI, required orders andsentences for NSDI implementation and a proposedstructure for coordinating activities.By adopting the Luzet [19] model, the draft of strategic plan mandated ministries and nationalorganizations to be the main stakeholders and datacustodians of Iran NSDI. They must accept theresponsibility of production and updating the NSDI'sdata, based on and during their daily businesses. Inother word, stakeholders should produce data throughtheir daily businesses including road management,urban planning, land management, tax collection and soforth. Although there may be many data providers, thedatasets they provide must be integrated in order todevelop NSDI's datasets. Once these datasets are sharedbetween data users, each user does not have to developthe data by oneself; the user can avoid duplicatedefforts of data production. Consequently, by sharing thecost of developing the NSDI's data, data productioncost can be minimized and shared between the users.The draft of strategic plan highlights that with sucha partnership model much benefit is revealed whenupdating. Since data are updated during daily businessof organizations, they are updated most frequently.Therefore, the users are assured of using up-to-datedatasets in an SDI environment. In addition, these dataproducers develop most detailed spatial data with highquality based on their business requirements. Anotherbenefit of using NSDI's datasets lies in the fact thatthese commonly used datasets enable the users to easilyshare other spatial data with other users.Prior to strategic planning, a questionnaire surveywas conducted with two main aims. The first aim wasto investigate the general environment of the countrywith an SDI view in order to:

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