such an extensive geographic information system. We embarked on our journey into GIS at the beginning of 1990 when the Municipal Council mandated the development of "the best user-oriented, user-defined municipal geographic information system in North America."
After years of intensive user involvement and enterprisewide data modeling exercises, word spread across city government on what could be achieved by GIS in an integrated environment. The requests for special reports, usually in map form, became so numerous and time-consuming that it became almost a matter of self-protection for the GIS staff to get "simple" mapping requests directly into the hands of those making the requests.
UMAP was developed in-house in a matter of weeks as a means of freeing up development staff to do "real" GIS. It has turned out to be a window into the world of digital geographic data for staff and citizens of the city.
As a result, it is no longer necessary to maintain complete sets of maps. It will, eventually, not be necessary to even print most maps. The users themselves are gradually putting their trust in a technology which allows them to see what they wish to see without maintaining paper records at all. Eventually, it may be possible to avoid even seeing the result, allowing the computer to simply use it as another form of input for some other purpose altogether.
For GIS staff at the city, however, maps are merely reports in a graphic form. The ultimate intention is to allow the development or acquisition of hundreds of computer applications which would act against selected elements of the corporate database.
The first priority is to develop those applications most prominent in the collection and maintenance of the most significant data. It is perhaps unfortunate, because such applications are inevitably found in tedious, low-key functions of the city, quite unlike the flashy, magic-like, query-only uses of geographic data.
UMAP is fairly typical of this latter group of applications. Perhaps it is the problem of all creative endeavors: praise for the dramatic but relatively simple accomplishments, while the pearls of tremendous achievement are simply taken for granted. But then, that may be the best praise of all. Scarborough is a good place to live, work and play. And its GIS is designed to support the infrastructure which keeps it that way.
Scarborough's GIS is a multi-million dollar, multi-year project for supporting business requirements in all of the city's departments. Its major focus is an Oracle database distributed physically among a number of different buildings in IBM RS6000 Series UNIX (AIX) Servers. This Oracle database is associated directly with the spatial representation of features in Arc/Info by ESRI, MicroStation by Intergraph and AutoCAD.
Each city business function is supported by the tools best suited to the job at hand. UMAP is based on Arc/Info and is operated through a local PC using Microsoft Windows in X-Windows mode. The system outputs both centrally to the city's large, expensive, electrostatic color plotter and to local printers as required.
The next upgrade would be to move to a different form of client-server, operating Arc/View II software, from the PC itself. The city is now prepared to support applications which require spatial data in text form, point form, line form (networks), polygon form, volume form and raster image form. It is expected to eventually support the full gamut of multi-media: sound, motion-video and animation.