The socioeconomic impact of the spatial data infrastructure of Lombardy
In this paper we present the findings of a study undertaken by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in collaboration with the regional authority of Lombardy, in northern Italy, on the socioeconomic impact of the spatial data infrastructure (SDI) of that region. The study took place in 2009 and focused primarily on assessing the benefits of the SDI to the organisations outside public administration, that is, developers and consultants involved in planning, design, and impact assessment. We report the results of two surveys undertaken in 2009. The first addressed consultants involved in the preparation of environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments, and found significant economic and policy benefits resulting from the use of the regional SDI. The second survey focused on professionals involved in planning and design (architects, engineers, planners) and found a much more varied landscape characterised by lack of awareness and skill in taking advantage of the new infrastructure of analytical tools. The results of this study demonstrate that the maturity reached by some of the existing SDIs now makes it possible to evaluate tangible benefits, and act as an incentive to analyse further how SDIs are producing positive externalities. The knowledge gained by monitoring the impacts of on-going SDI initiatives can be used to justify investments ex post, and inform further SDI development and wider positive impacts. Keywords: spatial data infrastructure, impact assessment, INSPIRE
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