With the aims of improving optimum use of spatial data across the government and making effective evidence based decisions, Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) is facilitating the implementation of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) program, in collaboration with stakeholder institutions. NSDI has been identified as one of the key initiatives identified under the National Digital Policy of the Government of Sri Lanka; “Digitalization of the Economy”. ICTA commissioned Mark Sorensen of the GPC-GIS to carry out a requirement study to define in detail the system requirements, related specifications, conduct information classification, system prototype model and the implementation approach.
In Sri Lanka, spatial data sets are collected by a number of government organizations to support conducting of an organization’s business and not with other agencies’ needs in mind. These data are managed in closed systems and this has created a multitude of information silos. Currently, data collected by organizations is not accessible. It is difficult to know what information is available and where it is held. This has led to several organizations collecting the same information because they are unaware that the information already exists. Organizations across the government sector recognize that current processes are inefficient and that more cooperation across the sector is required. However, existing data sharing policies are restricting collaboration. There is a significant paper trail of agreements that need to be processed before data sets can be transferred from one organization to another. Manual data sharing procedures contribute to delay in sharing, and the effort required to manually integrate updates from one agency to another is labor intensive and time consuming. The NSDI program has been conceived to address these issues and facilitate a process of standardizing and streamlining the development and sharing of geospatial data across government and other sectors of Sri Lanka society.
Accomplishing the general and specific goals and objectives listed previously requires a comprehensive and systematic approach. A work program composed of five interdependent implementation tracks was formulated to address the scope of the Requirements Study component of the Sri Lanka NSDI program. These tracks are designed to build on the results of the Baseline Study, streamline the Requirements Study portion of the program planning process and the development of specifications for the implementation of the initial GeoPortal and NSDI Foundation System. The five Tracks include the following:
Track 1 – Program Organization and Mobilization
Track 2 – Case Studies
Track 3 – Requirements Study
Track 4 – GeoPortal and NSDI Foundation System Specification
Track 5 – Tender Support
The tracks outlined above will be carried out as parallel activities, with incorporation of as-needed interdependencies and coordination among them and with parallel related activities being carried out by others.