January 2018 –
In its four years of existence, WebGIS grew rapidly, to date having more than 1050 users, more than 90 map services (layers) and clever integration with other enterprise information systems. Such is the simplest characteristics of the intergrated information system, WebGIS, that YMS began developing for the Slovak Forests in 2013.
Beginnings of forest GIS date back to 2007, yet the commitment to build a brand new GIS working tool available to all foresters was not made until 2013. „By creating our own system we have all spatial and descriptive data, development and maintenance of the system fully under control,” sais Ivan Pobis, GIS specialist of Slovak Forests General Directorate. The system continues to develop according to users needs, which means a rising number of functionalities, often quite specific, only used by a limited number of employees. Therefore a tool for dividing access rights according to particular user groups is being implemented now. „This will serve the system to grow in usefulness to users while not becoming too complex and cumbersome. It is all about maintaining simplicity, speed and intuitiveness,“ continues Director of the Department of ICT, Jozef Samel.
The basis for a flawless implementation of the system and its good reception by users is thorough problem-solving with forest administrators and their activity. Forest specialists working in the field, or in branch offices, often proactively provide recommendations to improve WebGIS. „For example one of the branch offices wanted to have overview of location of hunting facilities such as feeding stations or lofts. In cooperation with the National Forest Centre we created unified markings for each type of equipment and the branch office inserted the markings into their WebGIS. Now we offer other branch offices to utilise this layer as well,” Samel continues.
One of the key intentions with the forest WebGIS was to eliminate marking the changes on forest undergrowth by hand into forest maps. It was not possible, in the past, to gain information about undergrowth without personally checking the paper map. With the system, anyone with granted access, can look at the current situation in a piece of forest taken care of by the Slovak Forests. Gradually, by introducing integration with several other enterprise systems, WebGIS developed functionalities that make managerial decision-making easier and more precise. „WebGIS, just like any other new system, required time to develop user trust and fondness. Today practically all of use use it daily. It is one of the best projects of Slovak Forests in recent years. And it is not just its speed, but mostly the precision withwhichit indentifies undergrowth and calamities,“ sais one of the technicians in branch office Stare Hory, Michal Kovac.