by Aurélio Pires
INESC has been assisting the Local Municipality of Maia in Northern Portugal, in setting up a Geographical Information System. This is a new area of involvement in the local municipality by INESC whose activities had hitherto been essentially based on assistance and technical consultancy.
Involvement with the Local Municipality requires a major degree of articulation with the various local government services and departments in a natural extension of the work performed by INESC on the PIM (acronym for Municipal Computerisation Project). Under this project, the administrative services of around one third of the local municipalities in Portugal were equipped with a SIGMA solution which is currently being marketed by Medidata, an AITEC company (an INESC business development company).
In the specific case of Maia, INESC and Geovisão which is also an AITEC company, worked together, on a first stage, on the support and preparation of a plan for implementing a municipal level SIG. The second stage, which began in 1995, saw the concrete implementation of the SIG. New actions for the third stage are already being studied as part of this co-operative venture.
The Computational Graphics and CAD Group have been involved in other technology areas within the local municipalities, albeit in the consultancy field. INESC has adopted a progressive approach and has taken great pains to convince the technical and policy areas of local authorities of the advantages of these technologies and processes. Major attention has therefore been paid to operations for stimulating the in-house capacity of the local authorities (on-the-job training, helping to solve specific projects, etc.) which will make it possible to customise and adapt solutions to specific requirements.
In the case of Maia, urban planning, the environment, the road network and municipal property were considered to be priority areas. Provision was always made for criteria associated with integration with the cartographic and technical/administrative sub systems (SIGMA).