The SIG of Cáceres

This is one of the projects that was finalist For the awards of the Be Inspired 2009 in the category of Cadastre and Territorial Development. They also made a presentation by Luis Antonio Álvarez and Faustino Cordero, with a very good PowerPoint, videos and also a printed map. On the day of the awards we sat down to talk and had fun with what the winery left behind, in cruel humor we recognized that his English from Extremadura had shot a penalty with a Dutchman from Tiel who balanced the moment. However, it was good to know that another Hispanic project comes to the fore to inspire others, despite the necessary execution so that he does not lower his guard on an issue that never ends.

About Cáceres

It is a municipality of the autonomous community Estremadura, the second with the largest population (92,000 inhabitants) and the largest in Spain (1,760 km2). The city was established by the Romans in 34 BC, it is a world heritage site since 1986.

Sig caceres spain

From Extremadura stand out technological projects like the operating system GNULinEX on the nucleus of Linux and SEXTANT Which in its complement with gvSIG have a promising diffusion not only in the Spanish-speaking medium.

Brief on the GIS of Cáceres

It is interesting that almost everything done has been financed by the city council; after 10 years close to 1.3 million Euros have been invested. But this same limitation has affected its progress, not so much in obtaining data but in the automation of processes and validity of Software. There are only two permanent officials dedicated to the subject, plus a contract that is renewed annually for the management of the website.

The data.  The wealth of data is invaluable, they have historical maps that are true works of art, regulatory plans, orthophoto from different years, recent ones with a pixel of 10 cm. Although the National Land Registry provides them with the parcel, they have digitized other previous surveys and have a lot of information at 2D and 3D level of their entire municipal term.

Sig caceres spain

The software.  Regarding tools: at the Intranet level, those who produce data use Microstation Geographics or Powermap; Descartes and Power Civil from time to time. For users of other dependencies, Bentley Redline seems to have given them what they need and outwards they publish with Geoweb Publisher …………… all V8.5 and with a database in Access!

In total, they have about 60 users who interact with spatial data and about 200 daily online queries. At the customer level they have built very good VBA applications for querying and displaying information, some of these are also available online.

The institutionality. Due to the context (Spain), many of the regulatory weaknesses have already been overcome; I am referring to the stability of the technicians, who will not be changed because a politician on duty wants it, as it happens in many Hispanic countries. This seems to be good, although not everything is rosy, since managing funds to invest in the department must always be complicated.

In any case, the institutional role, its regulations in the sale of services, agreements with local and national entities is one of the greatest strengths of the GIS in Cáceres.

The publication. Their page offers a good amount of data that they have separated between cartography, street maps and planning. There is enough published material, what they have been able to go via Geoweb Publisher: ActiveX for IExplorer users, for other browsers there is always display and configuration of layers but only as an image. The other data are served as pdf.

Sig caceres spain

I rescue the publication, although it is notorious that they have been seen to be small due to their limitations in tools and human resources to develop. For that matter, they have not managed to dynamically send themes that would give much pleasure to the data, or a display with a single tree of categories and attributes aside to only turn off or on according to interest, it would be great for historical comparison.


The strongest challenges

Reaching finalists has brought great satisfaction to these guys, not winning is a roulette wheel and a result of limitations that can be overcome. Although they are not that simple.

The management of economic resources. Perhaps this is the strongest challenge for the SIG of Cáceres, what only three people have done is admirable, but it will be necessary to find doors to manage a grant. I suppose there should be ways to do it at the European Union level, but the most sensible thing is not to rush and prepare a plan that identifies how to make gradual steps balancing between having more data, providing more services or creating sustainability for what has already been achieved.


It would be necessary to sit geofumar in that environment, in the time that we were talking we thought of possibilities like to link the update of technologies to a project of updating of services and contributors; Would mean investing a quantity of silver in the update of certain types of taxes that are not being paid as it should be and that part of this revenue is invested in that department.

The technology update. This to myself it scares me, but you have to do it sooner or later; not because it is a fad, but because letting it go too much collapses its sustainability. Go from an Access base to Oracle, from Geographics to Bentley Map, from Geoweb Publisher to Geospatial Server V8i, not only implies a license renewal, it affects both the conformation of the data, the compilation of development and turning the sock on many things that have changed in these years. Better data management should also be considered, associated with transactions to avoid artisanal editing or vulnerability to the database.

It is clear that new technologies give them the potential to connect and serve data with OGC standards, manage and serve with better quality, but we must measure the decision because for a council corporation this type of argument might not be convincing.

The aspirations. This challenge is left to the council, because there is plenty of work, they could not complicate staying with what they already have and the honor of having been a finalist in the Be Inspired 2009, their stability is such as to retire there. But with the expectation of being the European Capital of Culture for 2016, if my intuition does not fool me, from what these guys have in their eyes ... they could be winning the Be Inspired in 2011.

A parenthesis apart

The Be Inspired awards are not given by strategic location, Spain could be attractive but normally the jury is made up of AEC specialists from private companies, universities, magazines or online media. Among the 20 members of the jury this year have been:

-Todd Danielson
GeoTec Media
-Braulio Agnese
Architect Magazine
-Mike Woolf
World Highways
-Joseph Francica
Directions Media
-Sisi Zlatanova
You delft
-Edwin Ecob
-Tom Sawyer
-Howard Turner
-Tom Fiske
Arc Advisory Group

After seeing one of the observations that have made them in the exhibition and some criteria that apply jurors of this type of competition, the (comparative) innovation in technologies affected them in the awards, since 5 years ago (2004) A project presented a development with attributes such as:

  • Multilayer design, Oracle database, transactional management 100% web.
  • Controlled, role-based flow management linked to ProjectWise from massive data construction, map recording, scanning and extracting of old books, link to the cadastral file, link to the Property Registry (including scanned documents) and maintenance request.
  • Microstation Geographics 8.5 but with VBA applications to insert xml into the dgn using XFM (before that Bentley Map came out)
  • VPR publishing with thematic raised from live data by Geoweb Publisher
  • Request for cadastral maintenance online with the redline API through users with controlled rights.
  • Cadastral maintenance flow from the online transaction, lifted by the Geographics client, check-out of the map from the main server, finished the change saves the Historical In the dgn and returns the check-in while maintaining versioned control.
  • Automatic backup and replica routine for different repositories, including the one of publication, searching the files that had been maintained.

Registration template

The environment of this project was very different, it ran through a loan from the World Bank, with institutional limitations due to its context, with which it is still struggling. The cost of that development was $270,000 (Not including licensing), justifiable before a project in which it is required to carry out at the maquila level the activities resulting from a cadastral sweep at the country level and modernization of the Land Registry including change from personal to real folio.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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