Imagine Malta as a multidimentional world, offering a capability to be explored through virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. This is not a sci-fi scenario, but a realistic goal in the scope of SIntegraM, an EU project partially financed with €7 million by the European Regional Development Fund and led by the Planning Authority.
SIntegraM is focused on the creation of an integrated information system collecting data about the natural environment from different entities and partners. This centralized system will be receiving information from land and submarine sources, and from above by means of drones and will produce a virtual image of various locations. This will allow a more detailed outlook on the Maltese environment and will facilitate the planning process in implementing environmental actions.
This project benefits society as it can take a snapshot of our environment, travel within it, review the changes that would occur, understand the rise of sea levels, and myriad other possibilities, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia said during a visit to the SIntegram CAVE (Computer Automated Virtual Environment). He explained that this system will make proposing and monitoring of green infrastructure much easier, as well as provide tools to spot and trace infringements.
“Since the launch of the Cloudisle Initiative that depicted the first 3D map of the Maltese Islands in 2017, technologies have advanced drastically, and the University has been instrumental in ensuring that this project has tangible goods for society. Through insight and inter-entity collaboration, we have pushed for foresight, and then pushed the envelope for social wellbeing,” said Prof. Saviour Formosa, who conceptualised and drove the SIntegraM project, quoted by the Environment Ministry’s website.
Project leader Ashley Hili revealed that through SIntegraM the Planning Authority aims to develop a national spatial data infrastructure and enhance the capacity of geo-spatial/GIS technology expertise for Malta. She said that the project is set on forging a strategic approach to spatial data, creation of critical base datasets, as well as enabling a legislative and mentality shift regarding the exchange and access to data.