The Danish Environmental Portal: One gateway to data on nature and the environment in Denmark
Environmental data concerning for instance natural resources, soil contamination and water quality is a prerequisite for being able to monitor, manage and safeguard our natural and environmental resources in the best possible way.
The Danish Environmental Portal also offers a range of digital solutions that give access to data on the environment, including among other things web services, a user administration system and access to legacy archives with data from the old counties.
With the creation of the Danish Environmental Portal private citizens and professionals alike have the possibility to draw on and update the State, County and municipal databases. At the same time the cooperation between all levels of government with regards to data and digital government lays a foundation for the effective handling of environmental issues in Denmark.
Nationwide data on the natural environment has many benefits
Data on nature and the natural environment is used in many connections by authorities, companies and private citizens. Also scientists, organizations and real estate agents use the portal to easily gain access to relevant and well-presented information.
Shared environmental data facilitates the task management of the environmental authorities.
The Danish Environmental Portal is an important tool for instance in the planning, prioritizations and decisions of the municipal authorities, because the case workers quickly can combine different types of environmental data from different official sources. At the same time the authorities’ work processes become more effective, because The Danish Environmental Portal allows them to access data across administrative units, sectors and geographical areas. This also reduces the authorities’ need for saving data locally. Furthermore, Governmental institutions can use The Danish Environmental Portal to gather environmental data for national surveillance as well as reports to the Danish Parliament and the EU.
The Danish Environmental Portal makes it easy for companies
The Danish Environmental Portal lightens the work load for companies where the production affects the environment and where the regulation of the environment has potential consequences for the production. Examples of such companies are municipal water and waste facilities, farms, fish farms and manufacturers in general. An example of the regulation is the use of contaminated soil, which is of vital importance to the construction industry.
The Danish Environmental Portal allows private citizens and organizations to easily find and access the environmental data they need.
Private citizens can also find relevant information on their own. Among other things, private citizens can access a map with information on specific areas and gain knowledge of natural and environmental conditions pertaining to their property. They can also check if there are any contaminated or protected areas where they live – or where they plan to buy property.
The Danish Environmental Portal focuses on the users’ needs
The Danish Environmental Portal is a service oriented IT platform which supports the need for access to natural environmental data that authorities, other environmental professionals, private citizens and companies have.
Since 2007 it has been possible to pull environmental data directly from the site www.miljoeportal.dk - either through ’Area Information’ or through web services, both of which enable authorities to update the databases and to pull data into their own systems. The portal also grants direct access to the databases.
’Area Information’ shows the big picture.
’Area information’ represents natural environmental data graphically on a map. Here one may find data regarding nature protection, conservation, building lines, agriculture, planning, soil contamination, and groundwater. The users of ’area information’ are the EPA, municipalities, the regions, private citizens, farmers, agricultural consultants, real estate agents, land surveyors and building contractors.
Web services enable the systems to interact with each other
Simply put, web services are small pieces of software which enable the IT systems of the environmental authorities to ”talk to” the databases of The Danish Environmental Portal. The authorities can use the web services to display data from the databases in their own IT systems while at the same time they can update data regarding – for instance – groundwater, soil contamination or nature. They can also update GIS data in ’Area information’.
Applications for special cases
The Danish Environmental Portal offers web services to authorities that wish to develop their own software or applications which address specific needs or special cases that they might have with regard to accessing and saving data. However, The Danish Environmental Portal does not develop such applications themselves. Typically authorities contract with a professional software development company to create such applications.
User management as a foundation for valid data
Not anyone can update the natural environmental data in the databases. The Danish Environmental Portal has implemented user management to ensure that only authorized users can enter data into the system. All data controlling authorities must sign a user administration contract, certifying that they will live up to the laws regarding data handling that govern the area.
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