The oldest known map of Malta dates back to the 1470s, which at the time proved its importance at the centre of the inland sea notwithstanding its extreme smallness. It was a vital focal point for navigators and a seaward bridge between Sicily and the African states.

  • Nationwide

    Location

    Nationwide

  • CohesionFund

    Fund

    CohesionFund

  • Investing in a more environmentally-friendly society

    Programme

    Investing in a more environmentally-friendly society

  • €8,3000,000

    Cost of Project

    €8,3000,000

  • €6,917,876

    Total EU Allocation

    €6,917,876

However, the history of maps goes back to time immemorial. Maps first appeared on cave walls and clay tablets then explorers drew maps on parchments as we began to understand the shape of our world. Today we use advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) that combine complex multi-layer spatial sciences and visualisations allows us to plan, understand, and connect us to what matters.

Malta is a geographically small country, but its face has been transformed in the past decades, as significant urban development caught up with an increasing population. Due to fragmented data preparation and analysis, an integrated approach to geographical data was lacking.

Using hi-tech scanning, surveying and mapping equipment, the SIntegraM project – which was developed and managed by the Planning Authority –  is providing policy makers, academics, citizens and the business community with a complete picture of the nation’s geography and infrastructure.

This project developed and implemented a national spatial data infrastructure and enhance the capacity of geo-spatial technology expertise for Malta. The project ensures that the underlying aerial, terrestrial and bathymetric infrastructure and knowledge gain is made available to all government entities in order to deliver the relevant analytical framework as per national, EU and other international obligations and requirements. The data and information is also publicly available to ensure knowledge gain.

The maps were collected through aerial and marine drones and vehicle-mounted cameras and scanners.  These covered the spatial extent of the Maltese Islands for both land and its waters. Underground features of heritage and infrastructure assets were scanned thus enabling the gathering of spatial information for further analysis. A stronger approach to spatial planning is being facilitated with the integration of various datasets prepared by the key entities involved.

Once gathered, the data is processed by software capable of rendering real-time 3D maps. This approach is known as geographic information systems (GIS). This allows for situational analysis, policy making and prediction modelling for long-term action. The project outputs such as captured data and derived maps inclusive of the basemap web service are being made available online via the project’s geoportal https://sintegram.gov.mt/sintegram and the PA’s servers .

This investment, which was supported by ERDF funding, would come in handy also in the rare possibility of a natural disaster, such as earthquakes or tsunamis, as the data could be used to respond effectively to emergencies or to rebuild afterwards. All the information gathered is stored securely so it can be accessed in the event of a breakdown in communication networks. Policy makers and businesses now have the tools to plan and implement projects that fit the needs of the region and its communities.

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