Malta is being converted into a three-dimensional world capable of being explored through virtual reality, augmented reality, and now - mixed reality through an EU-funded integrated information system project.

The project, SintegraM, extends from a new basemap, which was last drafted in 1988, to the launching of an online information system that brings together data from different entities and partners.

Partially financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the foundation project is led by the Planning Authority (PA). 

Photo: MECP, MFEA_PSPhoto: MECP, MFEA_PS

During a visit to one of the more immersive elements of this project, the SIntegram CAVE, (Computer Automated Virtual Environment), Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said the project could take a snapshot of the environment, travel within it, review changes and understand the rise of sea levels. There were also a myriad other possibilities.

The system will allow for proposing and monitoring of green infrastructure and aid in enforcement through the provision of tools to monitor infringements, rural offences and urban abuses. 
 
Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said that with the investment of €7 million from European funds, a project was being conducted to gather information in one centralised system, to facilitate the planning process and gather a more detailed outlook on the environment. 

Photo: MECP, MFEA_PSPhoto: MECP, MFEA_PS

The system will collect information from land, underwater and above with the use drones so that through a digitalised process a virtual image will be produced of various Maltese sites. It has led to a wider form of digitalisation in various fields, including planning and Maltese geography.
 
Project leader Ashley Hili said that through the project, the PA aimed to develop a national spatial data infrastructure and enhance the capacity of geo-spatial/GIS technology expertise for Malta.

The project constituted the creation of a strategic approach to spatial data, creation of critical base datasets, and the enabling of a legislative and mentality shift in terms of exchange and access to data.
 
“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,” Saviour Formosa, who conceptualised and drove the SIntegraM project said. 

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