1.1. Background Information
The European Union (EU) is the international organization which tries to improve the economic and politic integration between its member states and to reinforce the cooperation between them. The EU has three main institutions:
- European Parliament, which represents the EU’s citizens and is directly elected by them.
- Council of the European Union,which represents the individual member states.
- European Commission, which seeks to uphold the interests of the Union as a whole.
The Commission of the European Communities is the executive body of the European Union. Its main roles are to propose and implement legislation, and to act as “guardian of the treaties” which provides the legal basis for the European Union. The Commission isresponsible for adopting technical measures to implement legislation adopted by the Council and, in most cases, the Parliament.
The Commission has a President and its staff is organised into thirty-six departments, known as “Directorates-General” (DG´s) and “Services”. Each DG is responsible for a particular policy area.
DG SANCO is the acronym for the Directorate General for Health and ConsumerProtection. In DG SANCO web page they say their “job is to help make Europe´s citizens healthier, safer and more confident”. In order to reach these objectives one of their work scenes is the “Food and feed safety”. Hence, the European Commission has welcomed the Council´s political agreement today of a Regulation on animal transport, which will increase animal welfare by radically improving theenforcement of animal transport rules in Europe. This Regulation (IP/04/1391) mainly considers:
- The youngest and pregnant animals shall not travel.
- Improved equipment for improved conditions.
- Conditions for horses improved.
- Training of drivers and attendants.
- The responsibilities sharing in a bigger range.
- Ensuring better enforcement.
- More personal responsibility in case ofinfringements.
- Authorisation: improved standards to facilitate enforcement.
- New responsibilities at interim stops.
- Post-journey follow-up: an important part of enforcement.
- Travelling times remain unchanged.
1.2. My collaboration
The aim of the TRACES-GIS Project (which is a project for the DG SANCO) is to enrich the already existing TRACES application and database with some GISfunctionality and geographical information. The main use of this geo-information will be the validation utility which is useful to:
• Validate if a route plan is fine for a particular transport. This decision is going to be based on the animal species and its origin and destination.
• Assist the user in building the route plan.
Apart from the validation part, there will also be a mapping partwhich will allow an interactive visualisation of the selected route plans. This interactive mapping application can be used for instance by the transporting business or by the controlling authority. In the future, the DG SANCO plans to track down transport through satellite tracking systems and it will be possible for the controlling authorities to follow the lorries in real time and see where andwhen they deviate from the specified route plan.
To be able to build this kind of information systems on top of the existing TRACES application, it is mandatory to have good geographical information available.
Some suppliers of such geographical databases like Tele-Atlas (Multinet), Euro Geographics (Euro Global Map) and NavTec already exist. Some of these databases were tested in prototype andit was found that Multinet from Tele-Atlas was very suited for the specific needs of the project.
It is interesting to point out that TeleAtlas is one of the more important dealers of digital maps in the world. In some occasions the information that TeleAtlas provides can be too much for the objectives we are interested in. If the database is too extensive it can cause some problems like a...