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Creating a large-scale base map to underpin a national data model

Ordnance Survey created a topographic base map of Malta which will underpin a new national data model


The Government of Malta sees authoritative, quality-assured geospatial data as a vital component of a modern nation’s infrastructure, enabling effective policy-making, economic growth and the creation of sustainable and safe living communities for citizens. As a result, Malta has seen a significant growth in the proliferation of and demand for geospatial information across the country.

In response to this, Ordnance Survey (OS) collaborated with IIC Technologies Limited and BlueSky to create a new large-scale detailed topographic base map of Malta’s built and unbuilt environment. This new base map provides the nation with a ‘single version of the truth’ and will enable greater data sharing and exchange across Malta’s various government departments.

The challenges

  • Understanding Malta’s unique landscape – both urban and rural – to ensure topographic features were accurately depicted and appropriately attributed within the data model.
  • Identifying and selecting the most appropriate standards for the data model.
  • Understanding the Planning Authority’s requirements and creating a capture specification to meet them.
  • Ensuring transfer of knowledge and measurable capability growth following the training provided to the Planning Authority.

The solution

Ordnance Survey in collaboration with IIC Technologies and BlueSky created a topographic base map of Malta which will underpin a new national data model known as MapMalta:

  • MapMalta is a new standards-based geospatial database which provides an accurate representation of the man-made and natural environment of the islands, with each data object representing a real-world feature.
  • The MapMalta data model is represented by a Feature Catalogue which details the capture specification for each feature, both for initial capture and maintenance. These features have been categorised into with the unique feature identifiers enabling all features to be managed throughout their lifecycle.
  • The data model for MapMalta reflects industry best practice and follows international standards – this will provide a framework for efficient maintenance, updating and feature lifecycle management that is compliant with European and international directives and standards.
  • Creation of a comprehensive capture specification defining the real-world features to be captured and detailing guidance for the initial capture and maintenance of MapMalta data.
  • Development of a new suite of quality tools to ensure that Malta’s geospatial data is maintained and published in accordance with the agreed data capture specifications.
  • Development of a flexible topographic dataset reflecting real-world features which can be stored in tabular format and within a spatial database.
  • Embedding new geospatial capabilities within the Planning Authority of Malta through the delivery of a bespoke training programme.
"We are pleased to have worked with IIC Technologies, BlueSky and Ordnance Survey on this important project. Ordnance Survey is known across the globe for their expertise in geospatial data management and their understanding of topographic data specifications, geospatial database structures and geospatial standards. We have utilised this expertise to create a geospatial model which will deliver value to the nation."
Ashley Hili, The Planning Authority of Malta

The benefits

  • Enable the Planning Authority to satisfy the current and future spatial needs of its users.
  • Support the development of new government policies and enable effective decision making through the provision of reliable, accurate and flexible geospatial information.
  • Underpin interoperability across government entities.
  • Encourage economic growth by providing businesses with the information they need to make rapid and informed location-based decisions.
  • Enable the development of new and innovative digital citizen services using geospatial information as the underlying reference tool.

Find out more about how geospatial data can help the fight against climate change and help you protect people, planet and prosperity in our ’See A Sustainable Future’ report.

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