The law for the management of the territory of Region Lombardy: the integrated Territorial Information System.
The law for the management of the territory deeply innovates the territorial planning procedure. This law is based on values such as federalism, responsibility, sharing, and openness. It enforces the efficacy of government actions at different levels, greatly depending on a deep knowledge of the territorial issues and on the quality of the provided information. It enhances also the possibility of a direct participation of organizations and private citizens. Therefore the law identifies the Territorial Information System as the instrument that the Region, together with local Pas, uses to build an integrated Territorial Information System in order to get the knowledge elements needed to define its specific and generic program choices, to make a territory planning and to build projects" (art. 3).
For these reasons the territorial information is vital, because it allows more aware decisions in different areas and because its availability is linked to the evaluation of impacts and efficiency of the policies put into effect. This information allows also the development of many services with added value. The law entrusts to Region Lombardy the important task to promote and to organize the development of an information system that necessarily requires the participation of all the organizations involved in the territorial planning procedures and in the territorial intervention projects.
The territorial information systems allow to link the geographic reference basic data (cartography, orthographic aerial pics, satellite images) to other data of different kind (social, economic, statistic, land office related, environmental, technological networks). This way, a very useful instrument to support the territory management is created. According to the definition made by the Digital Administration Code, a territorial data is: any information geographically localized. It is interesting to point out that the value of this information, collected and used mostly by PA, greatly surpasses the hardware and software investments needed to manage the information itself. Besides, these data are vital for many applications and services that business and citizens request to the PA. These data are also a valuable resource helping both the social and economic development of the Region, and to make the Region more competitive. The organizations responsible for the single information content of the integrated Territorial Information System are the same who are responsible for the planning instruments: municipalities for the territory management plans, counties for the territorial county coordination plans, parks for the park territorial coordination plans, and the Region for the regional territorial plan. These organizations are both information producers and users of the whole information system. In order to collaborate to the building of the integrated Territorial Information system regarding the territorial planning, each organization is allowed to develop its own territorial information system autonomously. Of course, these systems must comply with current standards and yield the maximum of interoperability. Local PA will provide to the Region the information of common interest, in a shared and homogeneous way. In order to accomplish these tasks, Region Lombardy has defined some procedures which can be consulted for the operational details.
The way to a structure for the Territorial Information: rules.
Realizing what the regional law requests for the territory management, it has been of course taken into consideration all the national and European laws and rules regarding the territorial information development. At national level, the state-regions-local PA agreement about the geographic information system and the following integrated agreement on the common basic cartographic system both allowed to define common technical specs. These specs have been used to realize geographic databases of general interest and to create geographic information systems for national, regional and local PA. The above mentioned agreements requests a coordination made by a Technical Coordination Committee. This is composed by representatives of the State cartographic organization, of the National Center for Informatics in PA, of Regions and Autonomous Provinces, and of other national organizations. After the Digital Administration Code entered into effect, a National Technical Committee for the territorial data coordination has been created, whose members are almost the same as in the former Committee. This new committee must define technical and non technical rules and standards regarding the digital geographic data creation, management, diffusion, interoperability and use. At European level, a choice was made to avoid to collect the same information more than one time, and to promote standards, diffusion and a wider use of data. To reach these goals the SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure) has been created to define technologies, policies, standards and human resources needed to acquire, elaborate, save, distribute and make a better use of the geographic data. It can be easily seen that, besides the technological issues, it is very important to make agreements among all the public and private organizations interested in data sharing, so that information access and use can be optimised for everybody. The final release of the rule INSPIRE, approved by the European Parliament in January 2007, allows to build this structure. Of course, in an IIT project, not every category of data must be standardized in the same way, nor it has to be integrated into the structure at the same time. In the whole, IIT does not require new data collection programs: on the contrary, it requires an optimised use of the already available data, a documentation about their characteristics, and the creation of services that make data more accessible and interoperable, removing obstacles which limit their use. Region Lombardy, technically supported by Lombardia Informatica, started to develop an IIT. This project is based upon the European rules, specifically regarding the issue that data must be collected only once, and managed at the level in which they can be better managed. Besides, it is needed an action by all the involved parties to define the guidelines and the criteria for data standardization. This action required the modification of the region basic technological structure of the Territorial Information System, according to the guidelines for the development of the regional information system. This task was performed together with many organizations, and by means of specific agreements to participate to the IIT. The integrated Territorial Information System such as defined by the regional law 12/2005 is of course a component of the regional IIT previously described.