EMIS stands for Environmental Management Information
System. In general an EMIS gathers
all information relevant for the SCP Process, such
as archives, documentation of the process, address recording and mapping.
However, the focus is on the mapping part of the information system.
Cities everywhere are confronted with similar
questions: Where shall
we establish new housing areas? How can we revive certain parts of our
city? How can we avoid hazardous situations?
These are routine questions for urban management. They
have long-term effects and
All these questions also relate to space,
so the answers have to be geographically linked. Using a GIS to answer routine
questions means many drawbacks can be overcome. For example a GIS includes
a huge database on a city which is linked to different maps on the same
area. All this information can be combined, queried and analysed. So it
should ideally only take a few hours to prepare an extensive and wide ranging
report to provide solutions to routine questions. Therefore a GIS is a tool
which helps decision-makers as well as other stakeholders plan and manage
the urban environment efficiently and sustainably.
EMIS concentrates on the interaction
between environment and development activities. What makes EMIS
special is the way it is set-up.
Unlike many GIS, EMIS is used by many
different people, many of them are not mapping and GIS specialists. Using
the participatory EPM approach,
EMIS users both provide information to the system, and use it to answer
their queries. The system grows with the users.
Establishing an EMIS in a SCP city supports
a better understanding of the SCP process cycle. Basic Maps and some additional
Thematic Maps are prepared for the Environmental
Profile and the environmental data collected for the Environmental
Profile is stored and updated in the EMIS. At the same time an inventory
is conducted. The EMIS can also be used to prepare an exhibition for the
Such a map exhibition will help to identify, clarify and prioritise
the environmental issues of the city. The EMIS also supports the participatory
decision-making process. The Working Groups
decide on their needs for specific maps and find the data for new maps.
During this stage a lot of maps and data will accumulate. After this stage
the EMIS can be used for many applications. With the help of the EMIS
detailed action plans can be prepared and the maps will help to
formulate the strategies. When
the EMIS is fully functional, further analysis of the data can create
a development pattern map. EMIS can support monitoring
and evaluation of the achievements of the EPM approach.
The EMIS adds considerably to the EPM process.
It is based on some fundamental principles:
An EMIS is a learning system, so information has
to be fed into the system constantly
EMIS accepts the best information available. If there
is no scientific information, non-scientific information should be used
as long as the source is given.
EMIS separates facts from policy. Factual data is
shown in Thematic Maps while information about policy are stored in
Suitability and Sensitivity Maps.
EMIS adheres to a sound mapping rationale, so that
the maps are easy to interpret.
EMIS information has to be accessible to everyone
in the public, private and popular sector. The more people using the
system, the more information entering the system.
For the same reason effective information outreach
activities are absolutely necessary for the success of the EMIS.
- Advise on purchasing
- Provide information
about existing maps
- Decide on the content and
lay-out of the Basic Map
- Discuss needs of Thematic
Maps with working groups
- Agree on a mapping
rationale for Suitability/ Sensitivity Map
- Discuss overlay procedures
- Provide help for public
- Train users
Step 1: Advice
on Purchasing equipment
EMIS system can be built without technical equipment, but it is much easier
to use a Geographic Information System to handle the amount of data in
For an EMIS a personal computer is needed along with an A0 inkjet printer.
A digitizing board or a scanner should also be purchased. For fieldwork,
a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver will be handy.
For the office, which should be clean, cool and spacious enough to handle
large print-outs, a map filing cabinet and a light table is needed.
Setting up an EMIS unit takes quite some resources, and must be supported
by enough personnel, at least a GIS officer and one GIS assistant.
The inventory includes: Finding existing data and maps
Setting up a filing system for hardcopies
Suprisingly many maps already exist, even in digital format. It is not
necessary to reinvent the wheel, it is better to get hold of these maps.
Provide Information about existing Maps
It is important to file hardcopies
properly in a mapping file cabinet. This makes the maps easy to find,
and keeps them in good condition.
A Basic Map includes the main features
of the city such as major rivers, main roads and basic landforms. These
basic features should be used in each map created later on to give some
guidance and orientation on the location. >>top>>
Step 3: Decide
on the content and lay-out of the Basic Map
of the Basic Map function as master layers, so rivers, roads or boundaries
will never ever be digitised again.
When printing the first Basic Maps,
it is useful to decide on a standard lay-out, which can be used for all
A Basic Map can be created by:
purchasing existing digital data for
digitising the features of a topological
map either onscreen with scanned maps or by using a digitising board
using a satellite image or aerial photographs for updating >>top>>
Step 4: Discuss
needs of Thematic Maps with working groups
Maps are the main data of the system. In the EMIS Thematic Maps are strictly
of facts while Suitability/ Sensitivity Maps are about policies. Thematic
Maps show for example:
Height of water level in metres underneath the ground
Soil eroded each year in centimetres
Types of Crops planted in 1997
Population density per district
The input for these Thematic Maps will
existing maps or existing data can
be found in different city departments
issue specific working groups
fieldwork, which will be undertaken
by the working groups, if there are differences about borders and areas
Technical preparartion of the Thematic
Maps will differ according to the type of data available such as codes,
classes or charts. >>top>>
:Agree on a mapping rationale for Suitability/ Sensitivity Map
Suitability/ Sensitivity Maps are the final output of the issue specific
working groups. A Sensitivity Map shows areas which are highly, moderately,
less or not sensitive to an environmental issue, whereas a Suitability
Map shows areas highly, moderately or less suitable for a development
The steps to create a Suitability/ Sensitivity Map include
interpretation of factual data found
in Thematic Maps
evaluation of the findings
conclusion about conditions in specific
applying rules and regulations according
to these conditions
The most crucial point at this step is
to link the areas of the maps to the rules and regulations decided by
the working groups. This can be done by storing the information in a database
and linking the maps to it. >>top>>
Step 6: Discuss
some outputs of the EMIS it is necessary to combine informations stored
in several maps. This is done by overlaying these maps and analyzing the
outcome. These outputs are crucial for urban management. They help to
answer routine questions in urban management such as
what can be build on that plot? How does
a project design have to be adjusted to the circumstances at that plot?
where should investment be take place?
where does urban expansion take place
and how can this be influenced?
did a situation improve after certain
changes were made?
where is it necessary to take action
to change a situation? >>top>>
Step 7: Provide
help for public outreach
the EPM (Environmental Planing and management) process, EMIS uses a participatory
approach. Therefore public information activities are an important part
of the system. This brings new information into the system, and can be
very effectively supported by the EMIS itself.
Methods to promote the system and the
SCP process include:
Interactive map publication >>top>>
Step 8: Train
is a learning system. Thus, even though you completed all steps, the
system is never finalized, and is not supposed to be.
In order to maintain the system after the SCP Project has ended, it
is necessary to
institutionalize the system
ensure the public involvement
aquire a regular budget
update the information regularly
provide a continuous training
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