Background

An Information System was established during the first two phases of the SASS project. It enabled to:

  • Collect information and harmonize them into a unique data structure for the three concerned countries. The DBMS MS ACCESS was selected for various reasons: simplicity and flexibility and easy data management…
  • Establish a common geographical Information System for the entire SASS region: common standard, harmonized information, unique projection system … As the DBMS ACCESS, the ArcView software is characterized by: simplicity of use and implementation, possibility of personalizing by scripts Avenue.
  • Develop a simple and manageable tool to manage and treat data. This tool called “SAGESSE” consists of an interface developed by ACCESS, which enables data management (publishing, visualisation, research) in a user-friendly manner and facilitates the implementation of the PM5 model (unstructured grid generation, automatic preparation of the model’s input files…)
  • Disseminate the data and results of the SASS project on the internet by establishing a map server “GEOSASS”.

The establishment of an Information System was structured around on three main axes:

  • A technical axis related to the choice of the appropriate software, the development of information tools and the integration of data.
  • An organisational axis which consisted of the implementation of a mechanism that enables a regular updating of the SASS common database. This device is based on a data exchange format, periodicity and a protocol defined in a common agreement with the institutions in charge of water resources management in the three concerned countries.
  • A training axis that went beyond the simple initiation into the use of tools. In fact, the implementation team in the three concerned countries took part in each step of the establishment of the Information System: defining the needs, building the data model, selection of tools, design of software, data entry…
     

Initial status of the Information System

Years after the use of the Information system in the SASS region and in other shared aquifers, a first synthesis indicated the following constraints:

  • The use of MS ACCESS as a DBMS facilitated the operation of the information system on the personal computers of the system users at the expense of the common sharing of data. This distribution of data on different computers resulted in:
    • Difficulties in updating data given the existence of many versions on several computers
    • High error potential
  • The separation of attribute data (processed by ACCESS) and spatial data (organized in shapefiles) makes their management heavy and lead to a data redundancy which may provoke incoherence.
  • The users of the “SAGESSE” interface introduced several suggestions in order to improve the tool, mainly to :
    • Facilitate the search for water points that respond to given criteria
    • Facilitate the development of the water use expected scenarios.
    • Enable the extraction of the model’s results in order to visualize and effectively treat them outside the modelling software.
    • Develop data management models relative to the piezometric level and water quality monitoring networks.
  • Given the fact that the database used by the GeoSASS is in a PostgreSOL format, it was necessary to maintain a regular update based on the ACCESS base. However, this procedure was not carried out since the installation of the GeoSASS in 2005.

It was necessary to redesign the Information System to fill the gaps and optimize the sharing of data and information among the three concerned countries.