Photo - Lai Chee Siew, CEO, Esri Malaysia
Decision-makers in the State Government of Penang in Malaysia have improved community services with advanced smart mapping applications such as e-Peta.
Penang Geographic Information System Centre (PEGIS) coordinator Abdul Azhar Bin Abraham said PEGIS developed the application in 2014 to provide actionable information on areas such as land use, business and services, traffic and public transport, which helped "decision-makers efficiently mobilise resources to the right place at the right time, and effectively support existing social development projects."
"Since its inception, a wide range of government departments, including the Town Planning & Development Department, Penang Island City Council and Seberang Perai Municipal Council, have been using e-Peta and GIS to design sustainable structural layouts in the city and improve accountability and efficiency in the state government," he said.
"In addition, e-Peta has also done wonders to advance and support the advocacies and community initiatives of not-for-profit organisations such as George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), the Penang Botanic Gardens, Penang Women's Development Corporation (PWDC), and alms collection organisation Pusat Urus Zakat, among others," Abdul Azhar said.
"For Pusat Urus Zakat, we worked together to map the location of Muslim households and analyse the corresponding demographic data in order to determine their needs and identify who should give and receive alms," he said. "With the use of e-Peta, Pusat Urus Zakat was able to complete their study in half the time they would have otherwise taken."
"We also worked closely with PWDC to create a smart mapping app - hosted on e-Peta - that maps the location of various childcare centres in Penang," Abdul Azhar said. "With childcare an important decision for working parents, this app helps them locate the nearest centre to their home or workplace."
Engaging systems and people
Esri Malaysia chief executive officer Lai Chee Siew said smart mapping technology engaged both systems and people and has been used successfully by various Malaysian agencies including MIMOS.and to develop Iskandar Malaysia. "It brings together information and data from independent systems, and provides decision-makers with a more complete picture."
"What made e-Peta so successful and interesting is its collaborative nature," Lai said. "When you make it easier for stakeholders to engage with one another and share data, it not only improves organisational productivity and efficiency, but it also helps facilitate the creation of next-generation services."
He said since its launch, e-Peta has seen an increase in users, with 26,559 log-ins alone during 2015. Currently, 90 per cent of e-Peta users are public servants employed by the Malaysian Federal Government or Penang State agencies.
PEGIS's Abdul Azhar said the organisation will continue exploring the possibilities of using smart mapping technology to help develop smart communities in Penang.
"Moving ahead, we are looking towards having more state departments using smart mapping technology," said Abdul Azhar "We want more members of the public to adopt this technology - that way, everyone can contribute to our ever-growing database as we continue to map the country we love."
"There is also an increased awareness in the workings and benefits of smart mapping technology, and we believe that the technology will be used even more widely in Penang as we continue to assist and collaborate with various state bodies using smart maps," he said.
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