Noteworthy Keyword
【Environmental Analysis by Utilizing GIS】

Shigeyuki FUJIMORI

GIS (Geographical Information System) is a generic term of the system to integrate and manage data that has location information. It is the system to collect, store, reprocess, analyze and show the spatial data. The greatest quality of GIS is that it can spatially deal with various pieces of information including location information. By utilizing GIS, spatial analysis, analysis based on superimposed layers, and search and collection of attributes can be performed. In addition, a variety of analyses and processes by combining these can be implemented.

GIS is widely used in the fields of disaster prevention and urban planning. Recently, it has been aggressively utilized for environmental assessment, posteriori survey (monitoring survey), habitat analysis of animals and plants, organization of forest- spatial information, as well as the area assessment of road traffic noise. GIS is capable of linking to remote sensing technology and GPS (Global Positioning System), which is of wide application.

Regarding the database for environmental information utilizing GIS, there is “Environmental GIS” provided on the website of the National Institute for Environmental Studies. Environmental GIS is a system that can be used to provide information about environmental conditions all over the country. The measured data researched by the Ministry of the Environment and the National Institute for Environmental Studies and recent regulations can be viewed by maps and graphs. New and useful information can be obtained by linking the existing database such as “Environmental GIS” to various databases via location information.

The Ministry of the Environment created the Maintenance Manual for Environmental Assessment Base Map in 2002. In order to clarify vital locations relevant for the protection of biodiversity and locations affected by environmental destruction as map information among local characteristics in the manual, type classification of environment is arranged by layering the map information which mainly shows a natural situation. Such map information is essential to the stage of scoping, as well as the implementation of the environmental assessment which must be locationally predicted and evaluated concerning the ecosystem of the objective regions. In particular, the map information can be fully utilized when measures for environmental preservation, such as natural reproduction, is examined. However, in the conventional environmental assessment, reprocessing and utilization of effective map information for the prediction and evaluation of living organisms or an ecosystem were not substantially progressing. To implement the environmental assessment effectively and efficiently, it is very useful to comprehensively arrange a “base map” of the natural environment, including regions which must be kept in mind and a potential habitat map of the important species. This base map will be a national common platform. Adding specific local information and regional characteristics will also improve the overall level of information. To achieve this, continually digitizing map information which considers natural environment and promoting a proactive approach to a tool, “GIS”, which is capable of space analysis using maps, will be needed.

Regarding social conditions, the locations of facilities, such as the designated areas related to environmental prevention, the regulated areas associated with city planning, schools, and hospitals, to which must be paid special attention, can be organized as a map information. If the future planning for land use is obtained, it will be useful for prediction of the future conditions.

Furthermore, through space analysis with GIS using the regulatory basic environment data such as land use and vegetation, habitat distribution data, and the social condition data like urban-development projects, the methods to assess the current ecological network and extract the preventive and creative locations effectively are also examined.

The GIS Action Program 2010 indicates the arrangement of forest GIS, so that, by utilizing forest spatial information and the arrangement of forest GIS, a contribution to countermeasures against global warming and loss of biodiversity can be expected.

The evaluation method of road traffic noise was changed from the point assessment based on measurement points into the area assessment based on all houses in the relative areas. However, the manual procedures by using maps or the procedures by using spreadsheet software becomes complicated, concerning the arrangement of various spatial landmarks such as degree of road visibility, locational density of building, the building attribution included in the report list to the Ministry of Environment, and the output of the results of the "noise map between evaluation section" etc. The procedure, which needs significant cost and time, can be largely saved by using GIS. The area assessment of road traffic noise is positioned as a basis document to establish order of priority of extraction of problems that cause road traffic noises and implementation of environmental preservation measures. When environmental preservation measures are planned and investigated, traffic noise levels and excess status of environmental standards, as well as related information such as local, building and road characteristics and complaint histories need to be managed to establish measures and order of priority of implementation. To manage such information, various information on planning and management of roads can be not only managed in an integrated fashion, but also viewed and analyzed easily by utilizing GIS and creating a database using maps.

The Basic Law for the Advancement of Utilizing Geospatial Information was enacted on August 29, 2007. Advancing the measures for utilizing geospatial information more comprehensively and systematically is expected. The linkage of GIS with PNT (Positioning Navigation and Timing) is strongly possible and can result in the organization and updating of newer and higher-precision base map information (digitalized common base map), so that the linkage can greatly contribute to the improvement of convenience for the lives of the people (ensuring safety and security), the generation of new industries and new services, as well as the improved efficiency of government services.

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