The Use of Spatial Data Infrastructure in Environmental Management:an Example from the Spatial Planning Practice in Poland

Environ Manage. 2016 Oct;58(4):619-35. doi: 10.1007/s00267-016-0732-0. Epub 2016 Jun 29.


Today's technology plays a crucial role in the effective use of environmental information. This includes geographic information systems and infrastructures. The purpose of this research is to identify the way in which the Polish spatial data infrastructure (PSDI) supports policies and activities that may have an impact on the environment in relation to one group of users, namely urban planners, and their tasks concerning environmental management. The study is based on a survey conducted in July and August, 2014. Moreover, the authors' expert knowledge gained through urban development practice and the analysis of the environmental conservation regulations and spatial planning in Poland has been used to define the scope of environmental management in both spatial planning studies and spatial data sources. The research included assessment of data availability, infrastructure usability, and its impact on decision-making process. The results showed that the PSDI is valuable because it allows for the acquisition of data on environmental monitoring, agricultural and aquaculture facilities. It also has a positive impact on decision-making processes and improves numerous planners' activities concerning both the inclusion of environmental indicators in spatial plans and the support of nature conservation and environmental management in the process of working on future land use. However, even though the infrastructure solves certain problems with data accessibility, further improvements might be proposed. The importance of the SDI in environmental management is noticeable and could be considered from many standpoints: Data, communities engaged in policy or decision-making concerning environmental issues, and data providers.

Keywords: Decision making; Environmental indicator; Nature conservation; Spatial data infrastructure (SDI) usability; Spatial plan; Urban planner.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Decision Making
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Knowledge
  • Planning Techniques*
  • Poland
  • Social Planning*