Mesaieed Industrial City is located approximately 40 km south of Doha, the capital of Qatar. MIC is predominantly an industrial township with an industrial area, an excellent port and a small community with a population of a few thousand. The MIC management was established in 1996 by Qatar Petroleum (QP), a predominantly oil and gas company with diversified interests in Telecommunication, IT, City / Community management, Health Care, etc., as a single point authority to provide one stop service to do businesses in Mesaieed. Its industrial role is to develop a strategic plan for the allocation of infrastructure and services (Land, Port and Marine facilities, Utilities) to all businesses so that common facilities are utilized to capacity. As administrators of the Mesaieed community facilities, MIC interfaces and coordinates with existing businesses and new projects for temporary and permanent accommodation as well as the maintenance of all community facilities.
Information Technology Department (ITD) in QP took up the pilot project for implementing GIS in Mesaieed Industrial City a few years back at a time when the local government is harnessing its capabilities to help provide the best services to the community. MIC began to utilize GIS for the management of its sewer network with the completion of the pilot projectís first phase last year. Timing of this transition, from traditional to GIS, assumes particular significance as the city is all posed to embark on an ambitious expansion plan. The city is expected to provide services for a population at least thrice the current figure in the next three to five years. Urbanization on such a massive scale calls for planning and implementation of appropriate infrastructure by the local government to provide consistent services to its community.
As part of the pilot project ITD has modified the existing work flow procedures and developed a set of applications towards a completely GIS assisted sewer system. The applications are aimed at facilitating the users to automate their routine tasks and to relieve them from the manual and time consuming data entry and QA/QC checks with very little training. For planners, the decision support application in addition to providing access to all available data in one place they can as well easily manipulate, query and integrate data from different sources, including satellite and aerial photographs, and to prepare and print maps.
Spatial Data Infrastructure
Qatar is one of the countries that has a well established spatial data infrastructure (SDI). Under the leadership of H.H. The Emir of Qatar a premier institution called the Center for GIS (CGIS) was set up in the 1990s with the mandate to establish standards and to coordinate and assist various agencies in their GIS activities in the country. Within few years of its functioning CGIS became renowned for its activities and rose to the prestigious position of Center for Excellence in GIS within the Gulf region. GIS activities in the country are coordinated by a National Committee through sub-committees hierarchical in its representation from all major government agencies in the country. Qatar Petroleum (QP), known formerly as Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC), is a fully government owned company and is represented in the National Committee by its IT Department.
SDI has an excellent system for sharing data amongst the participating agencies. Each agency can publish their data for sharing as long as it conforms to the National standards as defined in the SDI documentation. Since the data that is shared conforms to SDI specifications national databases can be easily searched based on the published metadata. As per national standards ESRI is identified as the GIS software vendor and Oracle as the RDBMS for storing any GIS related data. As agreed by the National Committee the GIS data for publishing should be either as coverage or shapefiles, both are propriety formats of ESRI.
Qatar Petroleum follows the same standards set by the National Committee in general for both spatial and non-spatial data. Due to its diverse activities in different sectors involving vastly different functionalities (like municipality, telecom, health, transport, oil and gas, etc.) QP has, and is, building its own spatial data infrastructure, similar to the national effort, in those areas where none exists with CGIS / SDI.
The sewer system in Mesaieed is slightly different from the one as implemented in the national context. Many of the manual procedures followed by the traditional GIS system as mentioned in the National Committee were modified with enhanced features suited for a completely different and automated GIS system. Consequently, changes that were deemed necessary were made to the data structure, format, storage, and work-flow procedures. QP has, accordingly, defined its own spatial infrastructure for the sewer system in MIC. It is based on the existing one developed by the National Committee but modified to reflect the changes made to its basic structure and includes detailed description of databases, work-flow, data manipulation, data conversion, etc. Metadata for the spatial databases have been developed for data mining.