Information systems

Information systems (IS) imply a number of e-systems that contain and store data and information and exchange them. Those e-systems have replaced customary paper catalogues.

Two types of IS are of particular importance:

  • Bibliographic information systems.
  • Geographic information systems (GIS).

The bibliographic information systems are often located in governmental organizations and commercial companies and usually consist of:

  • Monitoring and evaluation tools;
  • Tools that ensure correct signal transmission during information exchange;
  • Tools to introduce base management practices by using a method of comparative assessment.

Geographic information system (GIS) is an inventory of natural resources (soil, relief, water, vegetation) of a site on the earth surface. This combines the data and information for decision makers on water planning and management.

GIS allows a user to see and find particular characteristics of settlements, land use and natural resources in a catchment area and identify links in the data presented. GIS also can show land systems, best options of management, land ownership and planning zones, demographic information and other socio-economic data.

With visualization, GIS allows a user to create 3D pictures of a catchment area, view the terrain from different perspectives, and observe changes in land use and environment in time. Further use options of GIS suggest geographical-reference studies, comparison of reports for governments and keeping track of progress.

Efficiency of IS can be judged from:

  • Quantity and diversity of measures taken after getting of information (e.g. land use methods, improved water management plans);
  • Level, at which organization, farmer community or other groups form multicomponent framework for dialogue and information exchange;
  • Indicators of institutional effectiveness (e.g. dialogue with user/customer, reporting mechanisms and financial stability).

Before starting designing IS, it is important to get knowledge about a social system in the concrete environment. Information is needed on social institutions, gender issues, economic development, human and technological resources and management potential of water managers.

An ideal GIS for water managers is the Internet-based system, which is user-friendly and allows getting easily access to information for the achievement of concrete set of goals. Flexible construction helps to adapt in time to new information requirements.

GIS works better when answers to the following questions are known beforehand:

  • Who will own and who will manage GIS?
  • Whether an application scale of the system is determined and agreed to meet the requirements of all users?
  • Whether an issue of financial resources needed for operation of GIS on joint ownership basis is addressed?
  • Were concrete data levels determined?
  • Which additional datasets are needed?

Author: Mirzaev N.N., SIC ICWC