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					               Sreejit S. Nair et al. / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology (IJEST)

                                                 Sreejit S. Nair1,
                                              M.Tech. Student
                      Remote Sensing and GIS Division, Department of Civil Engineering,
                      Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology,Bhopal-51, M.P.,india

                                                 Dr. S.K. Katiyar
                                               Associate Professor
                                         Department of Civil Engineering 
    Abstract: With GIS gaining its foot as a decision support system, its use is gaining relevance, but high
cost of commercial GIS software hinders the growth. On the other hand the Free/Open Source Software
(FOSS) has opened up a gateway for many budget restricted institutions & users to venture into GIS
development. This research paper assesses the possibility of using Open Source GIS (OS GIS) based
software’s to create a low cost GIS project and to publish the same over internet using free Web GIS
software’s and services available. The project has been carried out to create a Tourist Information
System model using OS GIS. It is found that OS GIS software like QGIS can provide practically all the
GIS tools required for the GIS application like Tourist Information System. Mapserver and Google Map
API can be used for web based GIS and query
  Key Words : GIS ,Tourism, Open Source GIS, Google MAP API

  1) Introduction:

   “A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing things that exist
and events that happen on earth. GIS technology integrates common database operations such as query and
statistical analysis with the unique visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by maps.” ESRI. With
the increase in use and application of GIS in diversified fields, the acceptance and need of GIS as a decision
support system is gaining relevance in all possible fields imaginable. The impact of this technology in various
fields is growing by the day and leading to easy management, processing, analysis and representation of
Geographical data.

   GIS operates on multiple levels, on the most basic level, GIS is used for computer based cartography, i.e.
mapping, but the real potential of GIS comes from its ability of using spatial and statistical methods and data to
analyze, process and depict geographic information. GIS can cope with larger amounts of data as it is capable
of covering large study areas (even the entire world – as needed). GIS can manage unlimited layers of
geographic data as well as attribute date (DBMS). Not only does it make the process of managing Geo-data
faster and efficient, it also requires less manpower and expenses. This potential of GIS has already led to a fresh
outlook to how big and small organizations manage and use their data. Within the last decade itself, the
involvement of GIS as a key technology for management support and aid in almost all possible fields has led to
GIS being a part of common mans lives , touching affecting and shaping it effectively. The application of GIS
software in the every field has become very relevant in the recent times including its applicability in tourism.

  2. Cost Effectiveness of GIS Software:

   The relevant proprietary GIS Software like Arc-GIS are very effective and has unlimited scope when it comes
to its application. This makes it a right choice to process, analyze and provide a Decision Making Tool for
various processes. But proprietary software is very expensive which limits the use of GIS to only expensive
research and application of GIS becomes expensive. Use of high cost proprietary GIS software limits the
application possibilities of GIS to people and organizations who can afford these expensive software. This limits
the possibilities of application of GIS technology in small and medium scale projects due to budget constraints.

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               Sreejit S. Nair et al. / International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology (IJEST)

Due to this reason, the use of Open Source GIS is gaining relevance as they help in developing projects without
adding on the cost and expenses.

  2.1 Open Source GIS – the need of the hour:

  A few years ago the use of GIS was restricted to researchers, planners and government workers, but now
almost everybody can create customized maps or overlay GIS data. To ensure the continuous innovation and
improvement of the GIS software, existence of diverse approaches to GIS software development is crucial.
Open Source GIS (OS GIS) is one of the most innovative approaches in the field of GIS. The free software
provides cost effectiveness and leads to new innovations in the field of GIS.

  2.2 Concept of OS GIS

  Open Source GIS consists of freely available GIS software and source code with limited licensing restrictions
on distribution. It is a collaborative, community-based software development process. OS- GIS proactively
engages software users with software developers and the internet provides the backbone for a virtual software
development team.

   Allowing programmers/ developers to read, redistribute, and modify the source code leads to the evolution of
the software as the software errors (bugs) are fixed and capabilities expanded. With internet providing the
backbone for these improvements and updates, the release of new updated versions happen at a fasters rate as
compared to the pace of conventional software development.

  3. OS GIS for developing and publishing a GIS project

   With OS GIS gaining relevance with its advantages over proprietary GIS software, the need arises to find out
whether the OS GIS can be really used by small & middle level organizations and individuals to develop cost
effective GIS projects.

  The main purpose of the research work is to explore the potential of using OS-GIS to create a web-based
portal that can deliver all the facilities that a proprietary software based GIS can provide.

   The research has been carried out to create and display GIS data for a field to set an example that can be
replicated in whichever stream a user want to. The target is to create and display Tourist Information System
through OS GIS with the following specific objectives:

  1.     To see whether all the needed spatial/non-spatial (SHAPE files) data that a tourist information system
requires can be created and displayed using free GIS software.

  2.    To use free web-GIS software to display the created tourist information system through the portal.

  3.     To analyze the time, effort and cost effectiveness of OS GIS over commercial software to create a

  4. Study Area and Data Collected

  4.1 Study Area

   The study are for the research is Bhopal, situated by the side of Malwa Plateau in the northeastern part of
state, Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. The geographical location of the Bhopal City lies within
Latitude: 23° 07 to 23° 54 N, Longitude: 77° 12 to 77° 40 E. The total Area is 3183988.25 Sqr Meters and the
municipality covers 286 square kilometers. It is covered in SOI Topo Sheet number 55/E-7-E-8.

  Data Collected:

  Data comprised of collecting the spatial and attribute data of the target study area.

  4.1.1 Spatial Data:

  Survey of India, Topo Sheet 55-E/7 -E/8 (1:50,000 Scale).

  Cartosat-1 Sattellite image of Bhopal of 2.5 meter Resolution.

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  Google maps - Digitized maps form Google map database were collected.

  GPS data using Magellan Sport Track Pro Handheld GPS

  4.1.2 Attribute data:

  M.P. Tourism office and websites.

  All relevant tourist data were collected from M.P. tourism office comprising of tourist data that is freely

  Also freely available and accessible information through websites, flyers, brochures and free audio-visuals
promoting tourist spots were collected.

  Bhopal Gazetteer, Govt. Press, Bhopal.

   Gazetteer is a M.P. Government publication that provides all statistical information about a particular district
of M.P.

  Bhopal Gazetteer data regarding statistical info, places to visit and their GPS locations were collected from
Govt. Press, Bhopal

  Central Library, Bhopal

  Central Library of Bhopal has got a huge collection of books regarding the rich cultural heritage of Bhopal
which was researched to collect the needed data.

  Town and Country Planning, Bhopal

  The current Bhopal maps and updated data were collected from Dept of Town andcountry planning, Bhopal.

   Google maps database

  Database of google maps has got attribute data regarding the details of places and their name etc.

  This free to use information was accessed for the study

  5. Methodology

   The creation of Tourism Information System using OS GIS requires collecting, processing, analyzing and
publishing data of geographical relevance (ex- road, tourist places, historical places; the distance between hotel
and the center of city or airport, the capacity of hotels, etc and other spatial and attribute data) that can be
viewed and queried by a user to access needed information.

  5.1 Creation of GIS Database:

 All methods are targeted at creating geospatially relevant data and creation of a web based geographic query
model using Open Source GIS. Fig 1 shows the graphic representation of a geographic query model using GIS.

  The user performs a request, which is transmitted to the integrated GIS system.

  The GIS system queries the spatial database (which has been created and uploaded to a Web Site) to get the
map data and to create a list of tourism objects which are located in the queried area and fulfill the criteria.

   Each object returned will be completed with tourism data like historical places, scenic spots, hotels, travel
facilities and required directions, etc.

  Afterwards the transformation module converts the characteristics into the required graphic representation;
maps etc according to the user query and need.

  The transformation and integration module integrates the GIS data with the tourism data, identifies the layers,
and defines the representation of the tourism objects

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                                   Figure 1: Functioning of a Web GIS based Query model

  5.1.1 Collecting Data

   The Primal step to be taken for building the tourist information system consisted of gathering the data related
to the target area. This data was collected and categorized as:

   Spatial data – related to the data that is in pictorial form and covers space related information of the target

  Spatial Data Preparation:

  Layers such as tourist spots, hotels and services are prepared as a point layer.

  Roads as line layer, and

  Tourist spots, boundary etc as polygon layer.

   Attribute data – the supporting data in the form of text and numbers that provides the factual information of
the target area.

  Data regarding all relevant spots were collected.

  This data was assigned as attribute data to the spatial information.

  5.1.2 Digitizing Data
  The collected spatial and attribute data of the target area were processed using OS GIS software to digitize
data and create shape files of multiple layers needed for the tourism information system.

  5.1.3 Integrating and processing GIS Data and Setting up a Website

  A web portal was created titled:

  The shape files created were uploaded to the site via mapserver application which was used to display the
needed geographic area.

  Google API program were also used to integrate the Google database and provide querying abilities to the
website which are provided by Google for free.

   Using Quantum GIS, Mapserver and Google API for the desired functions, an interactive Web GIS portal was

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   Thus simplifying the GIS technology by integrating low cost and free GIS development tools to provide
spatial / non-spatial data available to the end user. The integration and processing of the data has been done with
the help of Open Source data to make the project on a low cost displaying the scope of OS GIS to make a Web-
GIS Portal

  5.2 Creation of GIS data in QGIS:

         5.2.1 Geo-registration of Bhopal topographic sheets using QGIS

  Quantum GIS V.1.5 has been used to register the topo-sheets and geo-reference the target area image.

         5.2.2 Digitization and creating Shape files of the target area- Bhopal using QGIS

  Quantum GIS V.1.5 has been used to create shape Files and digitize layers

  5.3. Creating a website for publishing the GIS data on web

  A website named has been created through which the GIS data is to be displayed.

  Adobe dream weaver has been used to develop the site.

  Basic HTML pages and java scripting has been used in providing textual information of Bhopal.

  5.4 Creation and Uploading MapServer data

  Mapserver V- 5.6.5 has been used to export and instate the shape files to the website so that the layered data
can be accessed via mapserver and displayed on the site.

  5.5 Other free Web-GIS resources- Google Earth API

  Google API source codes and applets have been used to enhance the user query capabilities for the Web GIS

  6. Results

  6.1 GIS database created

   All the Spatial and Attribute data were successfully collected and a GIS database was created with it required
for the tourism information system.

  6.1 1Creating GIS data using OS GIS

   Using Open Source GIS software named QGIS, collected data was successfully digitized and shape files were
created with it. Multiple shapefiles were created to create different layers. Table-1 provides the details of the
layers created for the Tourist information system.

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                                    Table 1: Layers created for tourist information system

   Layer Name                        Layer info.                                Attribute data info. Of layer features

   Tourist Spots     All the prominent tourist spots have been                The attribute data of this layer displays
                   covered in this layer, their historical                 the history and relevance of the tourist spots

      Hotels                                                                  The facilities and details of the hotels
                      Prominent Hotels of Bhopal are covered
                                                                           have been shown in the attribute table of this
                   in this layer .

   Travel hubs        All the travel hubs like airport, Railways
                                                                              Attribute table includes the details of
                   and Bus stations of Bhopal are shown in this
                                                                           location and distance from city

   Bhopal lakes       As Bhopal is known as city of lakes, the                The name and details of the different
                   lakes are prominent part of the tourist info,           lakes of Bhopal have been added in the
                   which have been shown in this layer                     attribute table.

    Emergency        In case of emergency, whom and where to                 Contact numbers and addresses have been
    Services       contact have been shown in this layer                   shown in this layer

    National         National highways passing                through        Name of National Highways have been
   Highways        Bhopal city have been covered                           mentioned

     Railways                                                                 Attribute table includes the route of the
                      Layer includes railway tracks in the city

   Main Roads        The main roads within the city have been                The name of the roads and the places they
    of city        mentioned in this layer                                 connect have been shown in this layer.

    Shopping                                                                 The type of markets have been mentioned
                     Prominent shopping markets of Bhopal
    Markets                                                                & options for shopping from elite to cheap
                   have been mentioned in this layer
                                                                           have been mentioned in the attribute table.

  6.2. Geo-referenced and digitized data:
 QGIS was first used to digitize Cartosat Satellite Image (as mentioned in chapter 6) and then multiple
Shapefiles were created with reference to it using GPS co-ordinates and Google earth data.
 Based on the table 1, GIS data layers have been created.
 The multiple layers together provide the information required for the tourist info.
 These layers can be loaded together and viewed in respect to each other or loaded individually.
 Any layered feature, when inquired with “identify feature” tool of QGIS, will provide the attribute data for
the same.In fig 2, all layers used can be seen in an active mode. The user can access info of any layer with a
mouse click

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                                    Figure 2: Geo-Referenced and digitized data in QGIS

  6.3 Attribute table in QGIS window.
  All the layers have attribute layers attached with it which can be accessed/ seen by going to
menu>layer>Open attribute table. Thus the attribute table for the layer opens up in QGIS. Fig.3 shows an
example of an open attribute table for features in the layer -Tourist Spots layer, all attribute information of the
tourist spots in Bhopal are visible in the table.

                                         Figure 3: Attribute data created with QGIS

  6.4 Cost Effective Web GIS Portal Created
  A full fledged cost effective Website was created using HTML programming, java Scripting. GIS data has
been integrated into this site to provide a Web-GIS Portal

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                                              Figure 4: Web-GIS enabled portal

  6.5 OS GIS based GIS server used to display data
   GIS data was uploaded on internet and using OS GIS based Mapserver, shapefiles were displayed on the
internet for free which could be accessed by users. Figure 5 shows the uploaded shapefile displayed with the
help of Mapserver. The data from the shapefiles are called by mapserver and displayed in the form of pictures
on the web according to the user query. If the user checks on all the layers, the Website will show the all the
layers together and if the particular layers are selected, only their data will be displayed on the site.

                             Fig 5: GIS data displayed in the website with the help of MAPserver.

  6.6 Free Google Map resources were used to provide Geographical Query Support and directional
Support capabilities:
 Free Google Map data were used and programmed with Application Programmable Interface of Google
(Google API).

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   Web-GIS Features Provided:

1. Network Analysis and Directions:

                                         Figure 6: Directions provided for tourist

 The data called is used to perform network analysis and show route by creating a new layer overlaying the
existing layers of spatial data.
 It also accesses Google Map database and analyses the estimated time taken and directions to reach the

2. Point of Interest locator :
 It can also be used to search for tourist places, emergency service locator, location of hotels, finding more
info about a point of interest etc.

                                        Figure 7: Tourist spots and location finder
7) Conclusion:

 1.    For Tourist database, GIS is an efficient tool for the cost effective collection, storage and analysis
 2.    In any project, for the developing countries like India, cost is the primary consideration for the
       adaptability of GIS technology. Under these circumstances, QGIS Provides all the data storage and
       analysis for free
 3.    In the age of Information Technology and present focus of administration through e-governance, it is
       desirable to have any GIS database on the internet. The MapServer software provides a efficient

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         environment for the tourism industry. This can be very helpful in the promotion of tourism in India.
         As a tourist planning to visit a specific place can get all the details from the web based portal
 4.      Some other tools are also helpful in the customization of GIS functionalities, If required for a specific
         task. Ex – Google Image API. Offers a wide variety of modification and quey handling modules that
         can be incorporated into a WebGIS portal to increase its effect.
 5.      The Important point is that without investment, a person can use GIS with the help of OS GIS.

Suggestions and Future recommendations:
 This project is just an example of how OS GIS can provide capabilities and features of Commercial GIS
  software and hoe a full fledged Project can be made using the capabilities of OS GIS
 The methods and software used in this project along with other similar OS GIS software can be used to
develop any project in any field at an ultra low cost
 Thus the example set here can be taken as a guide to develop low cost GIS projects and promote the
capabilities of GIS so that it can be accessible to the masses with a budget constraint.
 The Importance and features of Open Source GIS should be promoted among the students and teachers.
 Training and workshops to promote OS GIS capabilities can create awareness among the GIS community
regarding OS GIS.
 A consultancy or a core group can be set up that guides and assists GIS developers in using OS GIS thus
generating revenue by providing consultancy and also leading to development of Low cost GIS projects and
increasing profitability to the developers.
 Providing low cost GIS means the permeability of the technology among the masses increases and this will
lead to tapping up the capabilities of GIS to its full extent.


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