The Management Information System (MIS) Circle is responsible for maintaining all computer hardware and software within the RHD
This includes the maintenance of the local and wide area networks and the Intranet system.
The Management Information System (MIS) consists of a series of relational databases which are used to store all the necessary data. The main data areas to be considered are:
· RHD Organisational data · Roads Bridges and other Transport Planning data · Personnel Data · Project Monitoring and Reporting · Financial Management · Equipment and Ferry Data · Standard documentation
Most of these databases are now under development although it will be some months before they are all fully operational. The databases use the latest client-server architecture based on the MS SQL database engine. This architecture concentrates much of the query processing on the fast file servers and which must be transmitted across the network. This is particularly important if the data is to be accessed remotely over telephone lines or if it is to be made available on the internet. The SQL engine also allows the data to be entered, viewed, searched and printed using a wide variety of programmes and Internet browsers. This allows the end users considerable flexibility.
A simplified layout of the databases is shown in the Figure (Click on the image for a better view). At the centre of the system is the organisational data of the Department (Zones, Circles, Divisions) to which all other data is linked. The road and bridge data and much of the project reporting data also relies heavily on the road links database. To allow relatively inexperienced users to access the data without causing damage it is normal to operate the database through pre-programmed 'data screens' and to print out most reports using prepared report formats. When using the data base through 'front end' data screens the user does not need to understand how the data base works. In fact the user will not even be aware which database table the data on the screen is coming from. The screens are also used to control access to the data allowing most users only to view, search, and print the data but not modify the data or delete the data. For those users who are allowed to modify the special data entry screens provide some, but not complete, protection against errors during data entry.
Additional data protection for the databases is provided by the NT network operating system which will prevent access to certain areas of data unless a user is properly authorised. The development of the various databases is a highly technical task which may be carried out by a small number of experienced programmers. It is essential that the end users are fully involved at all stages of this development as they are the eventual users of the system and the system must meet all their data requirements. Data must be maintained properly and users must see the databases as helping them to do their jobs better, quicker and more easily.