Urban projects range from urban transport planning to urban housing development, new-town planning and building design to the design and implementation of water supply and disposal systems. Innovative methodologies and technologies for solution finding are increasingly being adopted by institutions as well as companies to facilitate the planning, management and development process.
Sophisticated computer-based data handling technologies make simple databases and drawing facilities integral to the capture, collation, manipulation and presentation of diverse data sets and allow the decision maker to combine conventional map-based information with diverse textual or attribute data sets.
To establish the base data set for any major development planning project requires considerable investment of time and resources in data capture: topographic data, drainage, soils, geomorphology, land use/cover, water supplies, existing, planned and projected infrastructure, communications as well as up-to-date census data, development projections and so on are all vital to the establishment of coherent development priorities. Existing sources of data need to be identified, relevant data extracted and pertinent data gaps addressed through systematic data collection strategies that reflect the objectives and real needs of the client.
A large rural land use planning programme in Africa will frequently have a significant focus on the causes and effects of rural-urban migration, in particular the pressures on resources that result from urban growth. Data on health, education, water supplies, sanitation and population growth and movement were central to this and to the identification of options for change in urban areas and in preparing land use plans for rural areas.
The Accra Planning and Development Programme in Ghana identified the utility of GIS to ensure that infrastructure development, land tenure and the supply of adequate services could be effectively planned and monitored. Training was the key issue in this, as in many other, programmes. Particularly pertinent in developing countries are the adoption of good data collection and entry practice including not only GIS functionality but GPS, sampling, cartography, source selection and how these relate to the relevant urban planning issues.
GIS is a decision support tool that allows the planner to visualise real-world situations and to analyse and identify options to achieve stated objectives. In urban planning these may include infrastructure and utilities development, habitat protection, services location and investment needs. For utilities themselves this entails asset and facilities management through the integration of historical data with ever-changing data from systems monitoring both the demand and the supply of the relevant resource. Thus the seasonal and diurnal demands of the population must be understood as much as those of physical and environmental factors to contribute to a holistic management information system.
The GISL Group brings together the resources, skills and experience to offer a "one-stop" consultancy solution able as a focal point for the client to provide expert advice, additional manpower from our specialist register, in-house data processing and output as well as offering fundamental GIS roles such as needs assessment, systems analysis and training.