The town and commune of Wołomin is located on north eastern of Warsaw agglomeration along the railroad to Bialystok. The town is a local industrial centre as well as the sleeping suburb of Warsaw. The community of 40000 inhabitants is facing post industrial problems, the fall of old businesses and lack of new investors. The surrounding terrain of the community is the rural land which quickly transforms in to residential district. As every community in Poland its required to prepare he Study of Conditions and Development Directions, strategic planning document of the management of the community. The Study is made for all of the territory of the community. It should contains all the relevant spatial information and the landuse plan for nearest and further future covering all area of the community. It is made at scale adapted to the local needs of communities but never smaller than 1:25000 and it is not legally binding. In case of Wolomin 1:5000 scale for map of landuse plan with parcels in a background was selected. The Study should point out:
  • rural areas excluded from development,
  • areas designed for building-up,
  • protected areas,
  • areas needed to be transformed and rehabilitated,
  • direction of the advancement of communication and technical infrastructure,
  • areas for which the physical plans are to be made (as co-ordinating document)
It is a common practice in Poland that preparation of urban planning documents is outsourced by local communities. Wolomin decided to contracted The Center of Spatial Management, in Warsaw to do that work. CSM proposed to support preparation of the Study with development of GIS database what was very positively accepted by Urban Planning Department of Community. The intention was to make the planning process more effective during future subsequent revisions of landuse plan as well as improved management of planning applications. Typically, revision of landuse plan lasts nine months and that activity is supposed to be done periodically (an example every two years). GIS was seen as an important tool that:
  • helps to document the conditions underlying strategic decisions
  • can be used to support public participation in planning process
  • automates mapping, coordinates and helps to disseminate physical plans
  • facilitates territorial marketing
The GI database assembly process turned out not to be as simple as initially foreseen. Cadastral data (parcels, buildings, landuse and soils) were obtained in vector exchange format from county level administration that is responsible for management of cadastral information system. During data processing a problems with its quality and reliability occurred. Coverage of parcels was not topologically fully correct, especially along borders of neighbouring quarters of town. More important was lack of reliability of landuse contours. That data are supposed to be updated by recording every individual change to status of parcels. The surveying software used by County administration had no capability to create thematic maps. Once with the use of GIS Desktop the first thematic map of landuse on a base of official surveying records has been made, the problem became clear. County administration was heavily failing to update landuse records. It turned out that nearly four thousands parcels with residential buildings were classified as agriculture land (shown with yellow on a picture above). It can be attributed to separation and lack of data exchange between Community Offices and County Administration. It’s important to point out that taxes on properties that significantly contribute to local community budget are based on official landuse records in cadastral system. In case of Wolomin on year 2003 bad records in surveying database were of course quickly corrected but community budget had substantial loses (approx. €50 per parcel). Relevant geological coverage was derived in Shapefile format from Polish Geological Institute. Original detailed geological maps at 1:25000 scale are very complex and neighboring map sheets are sometimes based on different classifications. In order to make one geological map for Wolomin community it was necessary to interpret, reclassify and assembly four map sheets. Utility companies could also offer digital datasets from their FM systems. The rest of data that were necessary for the Study, especially all protected zones had to be digitized form paper maps. Orthophotos with 0,6 meter resolution were prepared on a base of air photos at scale 1:26000 coming from PHARE project that are easily available for whole Poland. We estimate that data assembly process consumed 25% of that project budget. That effort paid of during subsequent stages of works on the Study. City Council sessions have been always supported not only by quality paper maps but also by video display generated by GIS desktop software. It allowed to move faster the Council discussion on landuse plan “from disagreement on facts to interest negotiations”. Final landuse plan (presented on picture below) was structured as set of GIS datasets what promises future reuse and exchange of that spatial planning “product”. So far Mazovia Region (with capitol Warsaw) misses any regional GI infrastructure that could be used by local communities so GIS projects are supported by files exchange. There’s however interesting and somewhat revolutionary project called MATRA. It aims to establish central cadastral database (parcels, building, landuse contours, owners) for whole region of 4,5 millions inhabitants. It could help to forget about typical hierarchy and to overcome unfortunate separation of County and Local Administrations. One can readily imagine that in a future many services related to spatial planning would be based on MATRA infrastructure. It is to become operational by the end of year 2004. One should also keeping in a mind lessons described above in Wolomin case that in planning practice 100% ready to use datasets are rather very rare. It’s also worth to remind that Mazovia Region (with 250 local communities) misses any monitoring of Spatial Planning. GIS seems to be an excellent tool that would help to establish such system. Local initiatives like Wolomin one help to demonstrate GIS capabilities in a field of exchange of landuse plans and other information.

View Wolomin Community via: Wołomin