Indonesia leads world towards environmental sustainability with new technology app
By Clarice Africa21 Nov 2016
The Audit Board of the Republic Indonesia (BPK) is earning the country praises from members of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) for their environmental auditing tool called GIS e-Audit.
INTOSAI is an organisation composed of 180 audit institutions from United Nations member countries. Under INTOSAI is the Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA), formed to improve the use of audit instruments in the field of environmental protection in member states.
In 2014, BPK was appointed as Chairman of the INTOSAI WGEA. This allowed the organisation to lead initiatives which involved the sharing of best practices in using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology for environmental auditing.
In fact, BPK’s GIS e-Audit system was showcased at the recent high-level event last month, which gathered decision-makers from Supreme Audit institutions from other countries.
The GIS e-Audit system is supported by a world-leading location-based analytics technology – Esri’s ArcGIS platform. It can integrate data from various sources such as sms, social media, mobile devices, and data management systems of relevant government agencies.
The system also enables BPK’s field workers to collect information on the field, transmit the data in real-time to a central database, and visualise it on a mapping dashboard. This has allowed BPK to quickly validate the authenticity of their data and have greater situational awareness of the real condition of the country’s natural resources.
“Furthermore, the mapping dashboard is especially useful as it helped us move away from using paper maps and provided us with a more efficient way of streamlining our workflows,” Tjokorda Gde Budi Kusuma, the GIS Audit Subject Matter Expert of BPK said.
Editing paper maps is quite difficult, especially in the middle of a forest. Staff working in the field used to bring along paper documents, notepads, and even cameras. It could take hundreds of hours to complete the fieldwork for a forest. However, with GIS e-Audit, BPK's data collection, validation and analysis can be done within minutes.
Prior to this, BPK used an open source program however, they felt that it gave them no clear road for future developments.
“We then decided to develop an IT infrastructure to support the agency’s GIS e-Audit system which included engaging with Esri Indonesia for their expertise and solutions,” Mr Tjokorda said.
Esri Indonesia CEO A. Istamar said, “Creating sustainable development plans for our natural resources needs to be supported by a secure and scalable platform that would not only help in managing workflows, but also help in generating unique insights that support more informed decision-making.”
“With GIS e-Audit, BPK would be able to uncover patterns and trends in our environment that would have otherwise remain buried in static reports and paper-based archives,” Mr Istamar said.
Mr Tjokorda noted that one of their development goals is to establish a strategic way to empower data collection in the field and enhance their environmental auditing processes.
With these collective efforts, the agency hopes to sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and stop and reverse land degradation.
According to Mr Istamar, this is precisely the reason why the same technology was adopted by some of the world’s most progressive environmental agencies, such as the European Environment Agency, the Italian National Protection for Environmental Protection and Research, and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service among others.
“With this cutting-edge technology on hand, policy makers can now be confident their decisions are driven by reliable, accurate information – which is incredibly important when it comes to ensuring future generations are able to enjoy the richness of our country’s natural resources,” he said.