LSGI 4321 essay KWAN, Tsun-hei Chris 09116474DIntroductionThis essay was written to review on validity of the statement “It has been argued that thedevelopment and application of GIT is hindered by the lack of suitable data and tools in HongKong.” The content will be divided into three major parts, namely, the data suitability, toolssuitability, and finally, the conclusion. The essay will summarize the general local phenomenonof geo-information system (GIS) development and application in aspects of private andgovernment sectors rather than drilling on specific details of a certain part of the issue.Data Suitability and availabilityGIS data can be the most costly expenditure in starting or maintaining a Geo-information system.In Hong Kong, The survey and Mapping Office (SMO) of Lands Department provides localdigital map services. The cost for acquire original vast GIS data, although the Government is thesupplier, can be extremely high. For example, if a private company wants to set up its own GISplatform and it requires all B1000 digital map sheets covering the entire city, considering thereare over 3000 B1000 map sheets covering the territory an each of them costs 255HKD, itrequires over 0.8M HKD for employing the digital base map, let alone for the maintenance fee.Moreover, the maintenance policy of SMO is not convenient for private firms with limitedresource. SMO regularly update their digital map products and the corresponding date of latestupdate of a particular map sheet is posted on their official website. There is no description,however, on what details have been adjusted with the map data. An update operation of a digitalmap sheet may be as negligible as, from the users’ point of view, adding a public toilet which isjust be built, or, as significant as changing a work-in-progress site into a housing estate. Thereare therefore occasions in which private firms spend budgets on buying useless GIS data. Inother word, the expenditure of purchasing original GIS data source and its maintenance cost areobstacles against small-scale companies or party starting up their own GIS platform.Data VarietyThe invention of GIS applications is triggered by the development of technologies and the needsof the general public. The GIS data available in Hong Kong, however, are provided in limitedvariety. Let us analyzed on the digital map products supplied by SMO (2011) again, they includeB1000, B5000, B10000, B20000, C1000 (for cadastral uses), air photos and digital aerial photos.It is obvious that they cannot satisfy all the needs of the public.One typical example can indicate how the limited variety of GIS data may inhibit the inventionof GIS application. GPS driving is widely used among highly-developed countries such as theU.S. and Japan because of convenience for not just local drivers, but tourists as well. If someone
LSGI 4321 essay KWAN, Tsun-hei Chris 09116474Dwould like to develop such GPS driving machinery, it is apparent that the digital base maps ofHong Kong should be employed. Unfortunately, the base map data may not be sufficient tosupport the task as it is known that road elements are stored in forms of poly-lines or polygons inwhich no driving directions are indicated. It requires again huge budgets to acquire directions ofevery single road in Hong Kong, which is too expensive that the project may not be profitable.Possibility of data sharingHaving said that the capturing of data is a rather costly stage in constructing a GIS, it may comeup to another option in data acquisition, namely, data sharing among organizations. Yu (2004)conducted a survey studying the possibility of implementing a local GIS data warehouse wheredifferent parties which capture GIS data share the existing data within the industry. It was,however, found that 60% of the organizations which employ GIS and capture their own GIS datawere not willing to share data with others in a profitable manner. Yu (2004) concluded that themajor underlying reasons are, firstly, the organizations which offer the data should guaranteecertain correctness or precision of the data quality, and, secondly, the administrative staffs saw itunprofitable since it was believed that GIS data are not the interest of the general public.It seems, in contrast, that there is more vigorous information transfer among governmentdepartments than that of private, non-civil organizations. According to the final report on theimplementation of Data Alignment Measure for the Alignment of Planning, Lands and PublicWorks Data (2004), the Government employed Azeus, which provides Information Technologiesservice, to implement the Data Alignment Measure (DAM) in 2002 to facilitate GIS dataexchange among departments. DAM consists of 6 measures in total, which are, namely, 1)Common Spatial Units, 2) Standardization of symbology for graphic entities, 3) Standards on thefile formats for exchanging data, 4)Policy on exchange of data in electronic form, 5) Metadatacatalogue service and 6) Metadata production tools. There are 13 departments from Environment,Transport and Works Bureau (ETWB), Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau (HPLB), andCommerce, Industry and Technology (CITB). It is believed that through the implementation ofDAM, costs for capturing the same data when the parties have similar or overlapping purposes.In some cases, DAM may not be helpful for data acquisition. Since it takes time for internaladministrative processes within departments, the data shared may not always be up-to-dated.However, DAM is still, after all, an efficient step allowing the transfer of existed informationwithin the Government.
LSGI 4321 essay KWAN, Tsun-hei Chris 09116474DGIS toolsFrom the management view, tools of a GIS may refer to the software, hardware or manpower.Chan (2006), in the newsletter of HKGISA, mentioned that the general situation of GISimplementation in local organization usually rather an urgent process. The operators and theadministrators who are in charge of the system are from other departments or sections of thesame organization. They have, therefore, limited idea about digital maps and the theoreticalmeaning of GIS data though they are often experts in IT. Sometimes, in order to speed up theimplementation process or to save costs, they even lower the quality standard of GIS data. Theseacts, eventually, results the waste of the newly developed GIS, and, of course, resources.ConclusionIn conclusion, the development and application of GIS in Hong Kong are partly hindered by theextreme in data acquisition and the lack of a GIS warehouse for organizations to share theexisted data. It is recommended that, as Chan (2006) stated also, a GIS warehouse should be setup where data from different sources are processed, acquired and retrieved. It is foreseeable thatit may involve issues of copyright as well as the distribution of the running cost and profit. It alsoinvolves the internal policies of every particular organization or government department, whichis, for example, the Lands department processes DTM data, but they do not sell it without anyofficial reason. It is, thus, also recommended that the general public or any parties of interestshould declare their needs in acquiring such kind of digital information such that the governmentor other companies who feel the responsibility of sharing data and recognize the potential profitin selling the data as a product.Works CitedChan. (2006). 測繪在城市空間信息化的角色. HKGISA Newsletter , 5.Limited, A. S. (2004). Implementation of Data Alignment Measures for the Alignment of Planning, Landsand Public Works Data. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Housing,Planning and Lands Bureau.SMO, H. G. (2010, 8 31). Digital Map Products. Retrieved 10 22, 2011, from Survey and Mapping Office,Lands Department: http://www.landsd.gov.hk/mapping/en/digital_map/mapprod.htmYU. (2004). A study of GIS data warehouses in Hong Kong. The university of Hong Kong.