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Building an Environmental Management Information System (Emis)

By Sustainable Cities Programme

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Book Id: WPLBN0000043652
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 1.1 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
Full Text

Title: Building an Environmental Management Information System (Emis)  
Author: Sustainable Cities Programme
Language: English
Subject: Economics, Finance & business, World Bank.
Collections: Economics Publications Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: The World Bank


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Programme, S. C. (n.d.). Building an Environmental Management Information System (Emis). Retrieved from


Information is crucial to any planning and management activity. This of course is a truism. The problem is (a) to determine what data and information is needed for the purpose at hand; (b) to find out if it exists and where; (c) how to get hold of it if, it exists, and how to collect it if it does not; (d) how to store this information in easily accessible and referenced form; (e) how to interpret the data, resolve questions of quality, contradictions and incompleteness; (f) to determine who needs the information, when and in what form(s); and (g) to actually disseminate it as required. If these steps are formalised, institutionalised, and made sustainable, one can talk of an information system rather than an ad hoc data gathering exercise. By formalised, we mean standardised and explicit procedures and formats, which at the same time are flexible and not rigid; by institutionalised, we refer to the integration of the system into a permanent organisational structure, independent of any critical individual input; by sustained we mean that the system receives ongoing support in the form of necessary resources (funding, staffing, etc.) and ?political? backing, that its services are actively sought, and that it satisfies this demand. Management Information Systems provide concise, to-the-point and timely information which is directly usable by decision-makers in making decisions or formulating actions. The key words are concise: a decision-maker usually is very busy, and does not have time to assimilate more than a page or two at any given time; to-the-point: the manager wants to know what the information means and what she or he can do with it; timely: if information is not available when decisions are taken, then it serves no purpose; it is better to provide partial information in time, rather than complete information which comes too late; and usable: the information has to be formulated in a way that the intended users can understand and relate to, especially as these users are generally being non-specialists. EMIS stands for Environmental Management Information System. Such a system consists of formalised steps to capture information, as well as fixed procedures to retrieve this information. Generally speaking, the EMIS covers the gathering of all relevant information for the Environmental Planning and Management (EPM) Process. The EMIS includes the collection of information about the various environmental issues facing a particular city, supports the Issue-Specific Working Group process, continues with supporting the strategy formulation and action planning, including the mapping, and last but not least covers the gathering of information necessary for institutionalisation of the EPM process. By its nature, the EMIS is a participatory information system for managing the collective know-how of relevant stakeholders. All this information will be stored in archives, databases and in maps. The intention of this Handbook is not to give a comprehensive description of GIS. Countless books, papers and articles have been written about Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing. All major GIS software developers provide handbooks with extensive descriptions of their products, cartographic background and GIS in general. Thousands of internet websites give information on GIS. This book refers to the concept of environmental planning and management (EPM) elaborating on the particular elements which are most relevant to a well-functioning EMIS. An EMIS can be built incrementally at different levels of sophistication. A highly sophisticated EMIS, however, uses GIS as a state-of-the-art spatial management tool. Particular EMIS steps provide support to the various stages in the SCP process as outlined in the SCP Source Books, e.g. Environmental Profile (EP), Strategies and Action Plans, etc. You will find that the SCP Source Books mak


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