Departments of Transport and responsible agents around the world are beginning to realise the value of integrating data and information systems throughout the organisation. Initiatives such as ISTEA Pooled Fund Studies in the USA have identified the potential for such integration, and the need for better integrated information for management decision making and policy formulation is unquestioned. With agencies coming under increasing financial pressures the first and most obvious area for this to take place is in infrastructure management and maintenance.
It has been widely asserted that spatial data is the 'glue' to enable integration to take place in that all data can be related through geographical position, and that GIS technology is therefore the key to success. However, until now the majority of GIS implementations have been used with disparate systems within Departments to provide transactional applications that are mainly single(or very few)-user. This has resulted in 'islands of data' existing within an organisation. Some of the reasons for this lie in the need to show quick results to justify the large expense of implementing GIS, and to prove a relatively modern technology. More importantly, however, has been the fact that mainstream GIS technology has not be advanced enough to act as a data integrator in an open systems environment.
This paper first examines the need for integrated information systems in the highway and transportation business and briefly describes the concepts of open integrated information systems. The role of GIS is considered and the importance of spatial data is discussed. The paper then goes on to examine how Esri's SDE and ArcView 3.0 products break from the past and can be used in conjunction with business-orientated systems to provide fully integrated architectures. Finally the paper will report on actual on-going work that realises this vision.
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