Maps, Plans, Data - Online
About FIS Broker
For some years, the Senate Department has been compiling and processing geo-data on a large scale. The use of this geo-data has in the past been hampered primarily by incompatibilities between the GIS systems and data formats, but also by differing spatial references, scales and coordinates. Without painstaking data conversions, which often involved information loss, "foreign" data could not be used in day-to-day operations, or be brought together with in-house data. Moreover, there was the additional problem that the data were frequently out of date by the time the conversion had been accomplished.
In order to make the available data stocks available to a broader range of users on an inter-system basis, the FIS Broker was developed. FIS stands for " Fachübergreifendes InformationsSystem," or "inter-disciplinary information system", i.e. for the goal of making the data available in single applications or operational areas generally usable. This "broker" is to arrange to make such general use possible.
The basic concept is to leave the data at the source, and to organize a uniform inter-format general access system for them. The FIS Broker is just that - merely a mediator: While the data remain at the respective source and are maintained and expanded within those systems, the FIS Broker keeps only the descriptive data, the so-called meta-data, which is needed to mediate between the user and the data.
To be able to access the data provided via FIS Broker, no installation work is necessary. It is no longer even necessary to know anything about the systems providing that data: In order to access the data via the FIS Broker interface, all that is needed is a net connection and a browser. Moreover, it is possible to incorporate the FIS Broker services directly into one's own applications.
The central component of the FIS Broker is a meta-information system. All data are initially described in XML format, and saved as meta-data in a central database, the repository. The FIS Broker repository contains both technical information (e.g. server name, format, access rights) to enable provision of the data, and information on the content (legend, imprint, descriptions) to make them understandable.
The various geo-data are accessed via corresponding system adapters. Currently, adapters for Yade, Sicad, ArcView and Opengis-compatible access have been installed. They ensure that maps can be displayed regardless of format. Other functions enable navigation within the map, overlaying, and the production of other site relationships between various topics.
In addition to the maps, the Senate Department also maintains a wide range of alphanumeric information (factual data) in various databases (e.g. in Oracle or Access). These can also be accessed via the corresponding adapters. Filter, statistics, sort and download functions enable work with the data.
Since most of the information of the Department has a spatial reference, good spatial access to the data is decisive. Therefore, the FIS Broker enables a variety of spatial queries, in addition to the thematic queries. This makes a spatial search possible via addresses, a general map, a city map, so-called spatial units (e.g. toxic-waste sites, neighborhoods, construction plans), or also via coordinates.
The establishment and correlation of connections between the various data stocks is an essential component of the FIS Broker concept. Thus, map segments from different maps and different GIS systems can be overlaid and displayed together with the necessary factual data. Moreover, the spatial-reference service permits the creation of site relationships (e.g.: Is there a construction plan for the property, and what does it specify? Or: Are there toxic wastes in the catchment area of a water conservation area?)
With the aid of an author tool, consisting of a web-based administration component for the decentralized insertion of meta-data into the FIS Broker repository, the prerequisite is currently being created to permit the various data suppliers to independently carry out the editorial maintenance of the data stock they have made available to the FIS Broker.
- Inter-topic presentation of geo-data and factual data of the Senate Department
The FIS Broker Internet presence provides information about a range of topics from the Senate Department, which is continually being expanded. Users of the Berlin official network have access to a more extensive supply of information, with currently more than 250 topics, available to them.
The FIS Broker Internet presence does not yet contain all possible functions. Especially the possibilities of establishing spatial relationships is to be improved. Even today, the users of the Berlin official network have more extensive query and presentation possibilities available to them.
- Configuring the FIS Broker one's own web presence
It is possible to design the FIS Broker for one's own web presence via parameter inputs, without programming and with no HTML skills. The design options via a configuration file include the surface layout, the function and the data size.
Thus for example, the building lot management system uses an FIS Broker configured for its own purposes to support investors' research for land for building sites; the land use plan system uses it to present its plan.
- Using FIS-Broker services from specific applications
The FIS Broker, like the address search, the map presentation or the site information system, can be utilized in the context of operational applications.
Thus, within the Berlin administration, the Information and Statement Procedure of the Liegenschaftsfonds (LAUS: the "properties fund" which administers city-owned real estate) makes use of the services the FIS Broker and uses the maps described in the FIS Broker, combined with locally stored geo-data, for the assessment of its properties.
- Own use of the FIS Broker in other offices of the State of Berlin
All facilities of the State of Berlin can install the FIS Broker free of cost, in order to be able to provide their own data or use its services to build a procedure for their own purposes.
The Berlin boroughs are increasingly making use of such opportunities.
- Using the FIS Broker outside the Berlin administration
Outside the Berlin administration, the FIS Broker is marketed by SRP GmbH (in German).
Further developments are oriented mainly toward the development of the spatial-reference service, the communication of the different FIS Broker installations within the Berlin administration, and amplified use of FIS Broker services in operational procedures.