A huge database carrying forestry data is being create by the Italian national ISAFA
(Istituto Sperimentale per l'Assestamento Forestale e per l'Alpicoltura) research
institute. This database will become the official database for forest management of
the majority of the Italian regions. It combines a huge quantity of alphanumeric and
cartographic data and provides custom interfaces as well as database consistency
check. Originally the system was built using Microsoft Access Data Base in connection
to ESRI Arcview.
This approach carries some shortcomings, due in particular to the local database
management that implies the installation of the DB management and GIS software on the
PC of each user and, more important, poses a huge problem for consistency and
updates. In fact, data must downloaded on local computer, modified and then uploaded
A new solution, built on top of FOSS systems, has been proposed, solving the issues
above and allowing more flexibility and performance at the same time.
This new solution uses a client-server approach with a central DBMS providing access
to different classes of clients. This approach provides several advantages:
centralised, scalable and optimised DB management with access control, background
consistency checking and no need for specific software on the client.
The DB management is done by a PostgreSQL server with PostGIS extension, allowing the
complete management of both semantic and geographic data in one database. This
database is accessible from a Mapserver interface as well as from phpPgAdmin,
replicating the MS Access interface using php.
The existing Access has been semi automatically transferred into a PostgreSQL
database, while the the cartographic data has added to the database from the ESRI