The project was to build a Municipal GIS portal that offers cloud services to all municipalities and that can cater to the needs of municipalities in the present and in the future with minimal additional cost. The platform was customized based on the new requirements of Baladi - MSI to increase productivity and transparency in the municipal sector in Lebanon.
The project started by conducting a Rapid Needs Assessment - RNA in the 30 municipalities. Based on the GIS needs assessment results, a detailed report of the GIS need, the data availability for each municipality and the capacity of each municipality to handle the GIS system.
Project component contained coaching visits, standardized and on-the-job training focused on training and guiding the end-users on using the system to provide the GIS services for the stakeholders. The training was provided as part of the activities were designed in a custom way to serve the ultimate objective of trainees, which is understanding the concepts behind the GIS component and how they can best utilize it in their daily work.
The platform was designed in a way that allows municipalities in the future to offer consolidated services to the citizens through their websites and was designed to respond to today’s challenges for municipalities when it comes to GIS:
- Lack of basic GIS data layers needed by the municipality and essential to be used in any GIS system
- Lack of experience in GIS by municipality engineers and reliance on AutoCAD maps
- Lack of GIS applications to be used by the municipality stakeholders internally and externally: engineers, mayor, employees and citizens.
- Lack of infrastructure to host the GIS systems and to render services securely
- Lack of personnel within the municipality to manage the GIS systems and to upgrade the data layers regularly
Taking all those challenges into consideration, our approach to this component is as the following:
Data is an essential component to any GIS project, however, overloading the project with data conversion activities for all municipalities needing this component will overwhelm the project both financially and as a timeframe.
Early in this project, we provided the municipalities with standard requirements for needed GIS data. Data were requested from the municipalities either in GIS format or as CAD files.
The platform offered various GIS services that cater to the needs of the main stakeholders in the municipality: Engineers, mayor, officers, and citizens.
All services were provided and managed through the same platform with clear privileges that allow each user to access their dedicated services.
The platform was offered through a cloud offering. What sorted out a major problem with municipalities which is the availability of the infrastructure and the competent technical people to manage the platform and the infrastructure.
The platform services are fully integrated with the website of each municipality and all citizen services are provided through the website of the municipality with email being the main communication tool with the citizens through the website.
The following services were offered through the platform:
These are public services and cover the following:
- Touristic map
- Informational map
- Tax map
Municipality internal Services
These are services that are intended to be accessed only by the mayor and the municipality officers:
- Property map
- Tax map: due taxes and collection maps. This is a map that is integrated with the financial system. It is intended to be used as a decision-making tool for the mayor and officers following up on taxes.
- Infrastructure: electricity, water, …
- Violation maps
This also includes a mobile app mainly to be used by the officers to:
- Report violations on public property