The Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), like its European counterparts, has as its main mission to promote the good state of the environment. Through its Spatial Data Infrastructure called SNIAmb, APA gathers and makes available a significant high volume of environmental information covering air, water, waste and soil, which are the basis for environmental (thematic or integrated) assessments, essential in all the environmental management processes and in the evaluation and development of policies.

The SNIAmb – National Environmental Information System aims to optimize and rationalize the procedures for collecting, evaluating and communicating reliable and relevant environmental information, supporting decision-making processes and the development and implementation of policies and strategies in the field of environment and its integration into sectoral policies. Based on access, sharing and interoperability, SNIAmb is a structure at national level, under the APA responsibility, and a benchmark in supporting the development and evaluation of environmental policies.

SNIAmb It is a scalable, interoperable system that can be integrated with any other organizational system given the ease of publishing and consuming geographic data in universal formats, such as spatial web services.

SNIAmb was developed according to the principles of the “Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS)” of the European Environment Agency in which the information must be, among other points:

  1. Readily available to end users, primarily public authorities at all levels, from the local to the European level, in order to enable them to assess the state of the environment and the effectiveness of their policies in a timely manner, as well as to develop new policies, allowing them to easily comply with their legal reporting obligations;
  2. Accessible in order to allow end users, both public authorities and citizens, to make comparisons at the appropriate geographical scale (for example, countries, cities, river basins) and to participate, in a useful way, in the development and implementation of environmental policy;
  3. Fully available to the general public, after due consideration of the appropriate level of data aggregation and subject to appropriate confidentiality constraints, and at national level it should be available in the relevant national language(s). 

Currently, SNIAmb hosts around 200 spatial web services covering several different themes and areas in the country. Immediate challenges that come up when you have a diverse infrastructure like that are: 1. How can they maintain the flow of information and the availability level of data to the public at as high as possible? And at the same time understand the usage in a way to make access and utilization a smooth experience? In their own words:

“APA uses Spatineo Monitor as a “Security Information Event Management” (SIEM). Spatineo Monitor simple and intuitive reports allow decision making based on data analytics and actions that bring competitive and sustainable advantages for the SDI itself and for its stakeholders. The SIEM process using Monitor allows us to parameterize and scale each service in terms of ArcSOCs* according to the volume and usage pattern. It also alerts us to potential problems, even before they are reported to us by our users.”

Since 2017 APA has been using Spatineo Monitor to manage the quality and reliability of their spatial web services provided throughout the SNIAmb infrastructure. Spatineo software solutions have helped APA to overcome challenges like “what type of servers would work better with the configuration they had?” or “what services and respective data sets are the most popular among the users?”, and last but not least “what is the performance and availability level of the different services?” These are quite common questions SDI managers ask themselves but not quite often they are able to pull out a concise answer in a user-friendly manner.