MSIP Observatory map portal
The MSIP Observatory is an interactive tool presenting spatial data of the City of Krakow useful for residents, investors, tourists and anyone interested in our city. The map consists of many layers presenting different kinds of information i.e on architecture and urban planning, nature protection and ecology, administration and security, tourism and history of the city. It's interactive and user-friendly and it implements the idea of open government and open data.
The main objective for launching the MSIP Observatory map portal was to provide access to the public spatial data (depicted on the maps) collected and produced by the City of Krakow.
Our aim is to provide reliable information regarding the activities of authorities to the city and residents by publishing information about, among others: plantings and greenery, decisions issued regarding development conditions and construction permits, locations of GSM masts and directions of electromagnetic impact, noise pollution, planned strategic investments, and land use. In cooperation with the Police, we present data on the location of police stations and the scope of their operations together with contact details.
The MSIP Observatory website supports sustainable development by publishing and presenting data relevant to the strategy and changes that are taking place and will take place in the city, for example: spatial development plans, floodplain maps, SMART projects, Wi-Fi hotspots, historical objects and historical maps of the city.
The MSIP Observatory is an interactive tool presenting spatial data on the city of Krakow useful both for residents and for investors, tourists and anyone interested in our city. The data presented on the portal comes from the Departments of the City of Krakow and Municipal Organizational Units. The data is updated by individual Departments and Units. Thanks to this, residents and investors have access to up-to-date information from public registers online 24 hours a day. They no longer have to personally come to the office to obtain important information.
For example, until recently, to find out whether a zoning decision was issued on a given plot it was necessary to come to the office submit an application for provision of such data. Now all this information is available at your fingertips.
The portal consists of a series of mapping compositions dedicated to various users. The residents of Krakow and local social organizations that use our data when planning and submitting projects to the Citizens' Budget are the main recipients of our portal. The architects and planners who use our data in their daily work and entrepreneurs who want to develop their investments in our city will also find information of interest
However, our portal is not only an official data viewer. Dedicated tools allow you to, for example, add data from other sources, create your own sketch with a short comment, and prepare and print your own maps. In addition to presenting spatial data from the City of Krakow, as part of our portal, we publish tools enabling contact with the residents – the so-called Geosurveys. Thanks to this innovative and easy-to-use applications, users can actively participate in the life of the city by submitting their comments, for example on smog fighting issues. In the past year, as part of the partnership with academic communities, we have also started publishing mapping compositions that were created as part of projects implemented by the students of Krakow's universities.
The launch of the new map portal is another step on the way to giving wide access to the public data in our city. At this moment, we are already preparing another project that will develop our application providing additional tools, facilitating the search and download process and increasing our opportunities to interact with residents.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
The operation of the MSIP Observatory map portal is primarily to open up wide access to viewing spatial data produced by the City of Krakow. With the development of our solution, we have begun to present information about the decisions issued by the City of Krakow. In addition to viewing data, users can easily search for plots, addresses or investment offers, add their own sketches and comments on maps, and prepare a map to print for themselves.
In recent years, we have enabled the inhabitants of Krakow to co-develop our data through forms in which they could mark, for example, sources of air pollution (smoking chimneys) or places requiring revitalization. We also develop cooperation with academic centres by providing data for scientific research and publishing data prepared by students.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The MSIP Observatory map portal is a constantly evolving project. First and foremost, it is constantly powered by new data produced by the City of Krakow. In the past year, we have expanded our business to include publishing the data resulting from our cooperation with residents - reports on smoking chimneys and Krakow's universities - the results of diploma theses being developed on the basis of data provided by the Municipality of Krakow.
Last year, we also invested in a new IT infrastructure to reach recipients even faster and in a more reliable manner. We are currently at the stage of preparing a large project developing our map portal with additional tools for entering, editing, searching and downloading data. In this way, we are trying to meet the needs of users who are increasingly applying for access to the data generated and collected by the City of Krakow.
Collaborations & Partnerships
During the modernization of the MSIP Observatory, we were closely cooperating with ESRI Polska company. The specialists from the office shared their many years of experience in the field of publishing data produced by the local government, while ESRI Polska provided modern software and experience in the development of map portals.
The opinions and comments of other departments employees and local residents were the source of ideas and helped us determine the direction of changes.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The main recipients of the MSIP Observatory are residents of Krakow, companies from the geodesy, construction and design industry, and social organizations. The wide range of presented data enables various users quick and easy access to the information they are looking for. On the other hand, feedback from our users regarding the data they would like to view, the functions that may be useful and the errors that are recorded, help us to further develop our portal.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Since the launch of the updated map portal, we have observed a continuous increase in the interest of the residents. As compared with 2015, when the data was published on the old version of the portal, we have recorded an increase of over 50% in the number of page views - 295 353 in 2015 and 450 906 in 2017. We also receive messages from individuals and institutions using the portal including ideas for modifications and questions about specific data - it is a valuable confirmation for us that our solution is being used and we have a wide range of permanent and active users. We also note that the publication of new, interesting data results in a noticeable increase in user activity. In order to analyze the effects of our modernization and new ideas, we use the Google Analitics module and observe the load on our servers. Taking into account the trends from previous years and our development plans for the coming years, we are expecting a systematic increase in interest in our portal.
Challenges and Failures
During the implementation and modernization of the MSIP Observatory's map portal, the greatest challenges have been and still remain:
- ensuring the continuous updating of data – the content on the maps we present must be reliable and up-to-date, therefore we constantly strive to improve the methods of transmitting data generated by the Office to our residents.
- ensuring the smooth operation of the application.
So far, the greatest difficulty has been scaling the infrastructure resources so that, in times of high traffic, resulting e.g. from interest in newly published maps, the stability of the portal was ensured. Due to the growing popularity of our application, we have recently reached the upper limits of the capabilities of our servers earlier than we expected. Therefore, we have decided to upgrade the infrastructure, both hardware and the application itself, so that we can ensure continuous and stable operation of the portal.
Conditions for Success
The following are needed for a project like ours to be implemented:
- the cooperation of the entire Office at the stage of collecting, producing and updating data ,because the map portal must present as much information and map compositions from various fields as possible;
- cooperation with the inhabitants and users of the portal with the aim of diagnosing errors and collecting inspiration for development;
- a team of specialists from various fields (including: spatial data, geoinformatics, cartography, graphics, IT) and a leader who will effectively manage work;
- an IT infrastructure that can be easily expanded;
- secured financial resources for continuous development to be able to meet the needs of users and ensure the reliability of the operation of the portal;
- a curiosity and openness to new ideas - the spatial data industry is developing very dynamically so you cannot allow yourself to be left behind;
Map portals presenting spatial data collected and generated by local governments - are used in many municipalities in Poland. However, our solutions will be useful for others due to the innovative character of the tool, with it's many layers and interactive features. Our experience resulting from a large number of users and a wide range of presented maps have influenced the fact that we must constantly take care of development. Both the knowledge of the map portal design that our team has gained in recent years and ready-made solutions aimed at optimizing the system's operation can be used in other implementations. Our cooperation with universities and residents who can take an active part in the collection of data by us can also and should be reproduced in other similar projects.
The very close cooperation of the entire organization regarding the subject of data provision is very important during the implementation of the map portal. It is the current and relevant data that is the most important element of the entire implementation. That is why it is so important to ensure its efficient flow within the organization and to determine the issues of responsibility - who should take care of specific collections.
Since the aim of innovation is to provide access to information for residents and entrepreneurs, it is very important to provide the right IT infrastructure. Assuming a steady increase in the popularity of the portal, it is necessary to prepare the infrastructure with a large margin from the very beginning. It is also important to design the solution in a way that will ensure the possibility of easy and quick expansion.