Smart mapping app improves community services in Penang

Feb 18, 2016 -- An advanced smart mapping application called e-Peta has given decision-makers at the State of Penang a tech-savvy way of improving services to the community.

Developed in 2014 by the Penang Geographic Information System Centre (PEGIS), e-Peta uses advanced location technology from leading geospatial solutions provider Esri Malaysia to integrate data from various government departments and display the layers on a dynamic smart map.

The application provides actionable information on areas such as land use, business and services, traffic and public transport – helping 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,” says PEGIS coordinator Mr Abdul Azhar Bin Ibrahim.

“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,” he 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. 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,” he said. “With childcare an important decision for working parents, this app helps them locate the nearest centre to their home or workplace.”

Esri Malaysia CEO Lai Chee Siew said smart mapping technology engages both systems and people. 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,” Mr 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.”

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 aims to 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 Mr 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.”

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