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Sedilo (Province of Oristano) number one for the sharing of georeferenced data

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Sedilo, a small town of some 2,200 inhabitants in the heartland of Oristano, can boast of a national-level record: it is the first Italian municipality to have entered automatically (by means of the CSW service) its data in the public RNDT Register (National Register of Geographical Data), the national catalogue of geographical metadata and associated services.

The catalogue service is part of a wider project for the creation of the municipal geo-portal. This tool makes it possible to discover the territory through consultation of municipal maps and projects such as the zoning plan, the detailed development plan, the civil protection plan and the historical maps. Creation of the geo-portal was entrusted to Nordai, a Sardinian start-up founded in 2013 through the call for innovative start-ups launched by Sardegna Ricerche. This company's projects include GeoNue, the web platform at the base of Sedilo's geo-portal.

This small village in the area of Oristano was the first municipality to join GeoNue and so it is Nordai's 'patient zero'. And quite an important patient, since it is the hometown of almost all the start-up’s founders! We asked a few questions of Gonario, of the Nordai team, hoping to unearth a few more details on Sedilo's geo-portal and the GeoNue service.

What data can be explored on Sedilo's geo-portal?
There is a lot of data of many different kinds, starting from those which are strictly technical, such as the zoning plan, the detailed development plan, the cadastral records and environmental data. But it also includes data of cultural and tourist interest such as details of archaeological sites, churches and sanctuaries and business activities and shops. Then there are those addressing safety such as the civil protection plan and the safety plan for the Sanctuary of San Costantino during the Ardia, an important traditional horse riding event held at Sedilo. It is thanks to the work done at Sedilo that we obtained the national first place. GeoNue has made it possible for a village of some 2,000 inhabitants to become the first to connect automatically to the RNDT (National Register of Geographical Data) and thus comply with the legal obligations regarding database communication.

Apart from connection to the RNDT, the fact of using standard services allows the GIS to exchange data also with the Sardinian Regional Authorities. That means that when the municipality wishes to submit its urban development plans for the Region's approval all it has to do is ask the Regional authorities to connect to the platform. There is also another important aspect: the data on the municipality of Sedilo are not only certified and shared in accordance with international standards on georeferenced data, they have also all been published as open data under the Creative Commons licence.

How does the GeoNue service work, and what technologies is it based on?
GeoNue is based exclusively on open-source technologies. Whoever buys GeoNue, by paying a small annual fee obtains access to a web platform which has all the functionalities of an advanced Geographical Information System, where it is possible to upload geographical data and organise, catalogue and file them. Through GeoNue, our clients can thus create their own maps and share them in several different standard formats, making it possible to integrate them automatically with those made available by other players (State, Regions, and Provinces). All the information entered is saved on cloud. This ensures maximum security and does away with hardware and licence costs. Use of the cloud is reflected in the second part of the name of the service: "Nue", the Sardinian word for cloud.

These are the strictly technical functionalities, connected to data management. But GeoNue is much more: it is also a tool for promotion of the local heritage and also has an 'external' module directed at citizens. And this is perhaps the most innovative part of our service, because it makes the map a central tool in official communications between the various public agencies and citizens, businesses and professionals who can consult it anywhere anytime via smartphone, tablet or computer. It's what we have called the GeoNue Portal. Similarly to traditional atlases, the Portal organises data into thematic maps and makes it possible to use and download the data supplied in open format and certified by the competent public agency.

What skills underpin the development of a service such as GeoNue?
There are IT experts, above all in the field of Geographical Information Systems and cloud computing. We also work with engineers and geologists with GIS expertise, who deal mainly with land use planning. In addition to technical know-how – which is obviously paramount for us for development of the idea – another key figure in our company is the management and financial consultant and the legal expert for drawing up contracts with staff and clients and keeping relations with public authorities and commercial partners. And, as for every new service, it was essential to have someone handling the creative part concerning communications and graphics.

Are new developments planned for Sedilo's geo-portal?
We will shortly launch a set of Information Systems: we are working on the Federated GIS of the Guilcier, a union of nine municipalities in the Oristano Province. These towns (using GeoNue) and the Region of Sardinia (using its own GIS) will be linked to each other automatically. They will be able to speak – you might say – the same language and this will be just the beginning of a pathway to which we hope to add other municipalities and unions of municipalities too. In the meantime we are carrying on with work on new modules and the updating of existing services with the aim of making them increasingly user-friendly and interoperable.

What new projects is Nordai working on?
We are about to launch in Apple Store our GeoNue app for iPad. This is an app for the global market which will make it possible to create maps and projects based on standard international services; this means it can be used with data from any GIS using those standards. It will also be social, in the sense that it will be possible not only to create maps on individual iPads, but also to share them on the main social networks.

A few months ago we also launched on our Twitter channel a pro-bono initiative we have called #LaMappaDelLunedì (the Monday map). It is a weekly map created by us using open data available online and which we think can be of public use. On the GeoNue site you will find a list of the maps created up to now.

Useful links
Geo for all – An example for all municipalities, the geographical atlas of the Municipality of Sedilo
GeoNue – Municipality of Sedilo
GeoNue - Tour

Sara Palmas