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At the forefront of information age. Information and communication technologies in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug

Today's Ugra is a universal world that combines the developed industrial infrastructure and the traditional lifestyle of hunting, fishing, reindeer herding communities in its vast territory. Information and communication technologies give big cities, remote Siberian villages, nomadic camps a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the socio-economic, social, humanitarian and cultural integrity of the region, its inclusion in the national and international systems. What purposes do ICTs serve in the vast extensions of  Siberia?

 

         E-government is a form of modern democracy

 

         Ugra is among the leading Russian regions in the transition to the electronic form of government (e-government) that provides the citizens with the state and municipal services online. The transition to e-government is carried out in accordance with the Action Plan for building the Information Society, developed on the basis of the Declaration of Principles adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, 2003). The Declaration provides a strategy for e-government, aimed to innovate and promote transparency in public administrations, improve their efficiency and strengthen relations with citizens (p. 15).

         Since 2011 the Okrug has formed the regional e-government infrastructure. Today, it includes a range of regional information systems: “Portal of state and municipal services (functions) of the Autonomous Okrug” (86.gosuslugi.ru), “Register of public and municipal services (functions) of the Autonomous Okrug”, the regional system of interagency electronic interaction, information and payment gateway, infrastructure for the production, issuance and maintenance of universal electronic cards (UEC). 7057 requests to issue cards have been received so far, including 5,5 thousand requests received from the beginning of 2014 — the indicator of the increasing popularity of these electronic services among the Ugra people.

         As a result, the population of the Okrug can receive in electronic form  hundreds of services in areas such as health care, social protection, employment promotion, civil registration, culture, science and education, housing and utilities, property and land relations, construction and management of entrepreneurship.

         Electronic services fit right to all categories of the population. The number of inhabitants of the Okrug, registered on  the integrated portal of State and municipal services (86.gosuslugi.ru, hereinafter referred to as the integrated portal) on August 11, 2014 exceeded 243 thousand people (16,2% of the Okrug's population) - the 2nd-position in the Russian Federation. This service is gaining popularity among Ugrian people. 192037 requests for services at municipal, regional and federal level were sent via the integrated portal during the first 7 months in 2014. By comparison, 75 thousand requests were sent over the past year (267178 requests in 2013 – 2014).

 

         The territory imbued with information

 

         The Declaration of Principles of the World Summit on the Information Society, emphasized the need to facilitate the systematic and efficient collection, dissemination and preservation of essential scientific digital data, for example, demographical and meteorological (p. 22).

         The Territorial Information System of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra (hereinafter referred to as the TIS Ugra) further developed this provision.

         The TIS Ugra is an integrated regional information system designed for the collection, storage, processing and disclosure of information and scientific and analytical support for addressing problems related to the management of socio-economic development of the Autonomous Okrug. It greatly improves the efficiency and quality of public and municipal administration. 31 government agencies and 22 municipalities (more than 1400 users) have now acces to TIS Ugra.

         The core of the TIS Ugra is represented by the unified cartographic resource of the Autonomous Okrug including a single topographic base map of 1: 100.000 scale,  orthorectified satellite imagery mosaic of the entire territory of the Okrug of different spatial resolution for the period from 2007 to 2010, from 2011 to 2012 and for the year 2013 and more than 500 thematic map layers (including maps of subsoil use licensing and planned exploration work, circuit power plants and grids, maps of railways and roads, pipelines, and many others).

         The TIS Ugra is used actively as a tool of environmental monitoring of the impact of natural and man-made disasters (p. 20 of the Declaration of Principles). For example, it is the control of forest fires and their automatic account on the basis of multi-storey observation (information-telecommunication system “Ash”), automatic thermal mapping points (satellite data Remote Sensing Centre “Ugra Research Institute of Information Technologies”), automatically receiving weather data (“Khanty-Mansiysk Okrug center for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring”). All data is used for effective protective measures.

         The segment of the public TIS Ugra, providing for public access to information and knowledge (p. 20 of the Declaration of Principles) has special importance. The Autonomus Okrug's public Territorial Information System will be launched by the end of this year, Ugrian people will then have access to socially significant information with georeferencing. It is a digital version of topographic maps of the Okrug (scale 1: 100 000), plans of all settlements, roads (including winter roads), railroads, protected areas, availability of socio-important facilities for people with limited mobility, information about the tourism potential of Ugra.

         Through the public segment citizens also have an opportunity to address the authorities with photographs and / or audio files attached to the object on the map, and the authorities staff post information in connection with the map.
         The public segment will be designed for the use of the visually impaired people, in accordance with the international recommendations on access to web-content (WCAG).

 

 

 

 

         Down with digital inequality

 

         UNESCO attaches great importance to this issue across the world. Since 2006 Ugra has implemented the project “e-citizen”, aimed at mass training of residents of the Autonomous Okrug in basic computer skills, the use of electronic public resources and running their own business on the Internet. Ugra was the first Russian region, to put such a project in practice.

         Today, the trainings include:

- the International Program “e-citizen” – basics of the work with information and communication technologies (ICT), the use of Integrated portal of public and municipal services of the Russian Federation (http://www.gosuslugi.ru). The program is focused on vulnerable groups of population.

- the “e-commerce” program - basics of the use of payment systems, obtaining of digital services, the organization and conduct of business with the help of information and communication technologies. This program is focused on the  students of higher and secondary specialized educational institutions.

- the “Effective use of e-government services” program – obtaining of digital state and municipal services, the study of the possibilities offered by Integrated portal of public and municipal services of the Russian Federation (http://www.gosuslugi.ru) and its regional segment, getting to know about the general concept of “e-government.”

         Training is conducted by certified tutors on the basis of public libraries in public access centers and educational institutions of the Autonomous Okrug in specially equipped classrooms, on a full-time and distance forms.

         In addition to that, training of blind and visually impaired citizens in computer literacy was launched in 2012.

         Since 2013 the portal “e-citizen of Ugra” (http://www.eduhmao.ru) helps  improve  the computer literacy. The portal contains full video course of  60 episodes of the “e-citizen” and audio course, adapted to the needs of blind and visually impaired people and video course, designed for the hearing impaired people. Courses are also organized by the electronic check-in.

         Since the implementation of “e-citizen” project more than 75000 people including more than 20000 people of retirement age completed training in the basics of computer literacy in the form of full-time and distance courses.

         In 2013 the Autonomous Okrug won the nomination “The best system of education” of the All-Russian competition of regional educational programs “Information Technology for Seniors.”

 

         Public access to the rights

 

         Since 2006 the constitutional right of citizens to have socially significant information has been exercised through a network of public access centers (PAC) in the territory of the Autonomous Okrug. They are based on public libraries, administrations of rural settlements, cultural and entertainment centers and other facilities that are open to the public. On the territory of 151 settlements of the Autonomous Okrug there are 220 centers, 67 of them have the access to the Internet through satellite technology.

         Anyone who addresses the public access center (from schoolchildren to pensioners) can find information on the laws, functions and operation of state and municipal authorities, on how he or she can exercise their constitutional rights in the sphere of health care, education and culture. Visitors of a public center can receive state and municipal services in electronic form through an integrated portal.

         9 specialized public centers help to provide unhindered access of people with vision disabilities to the socially significant information. These centers are also equipped with Braille facilities, speech synthesizers and devices to play digital “talking” books.

 

         Information is the key to security

 

         Fires, floods and other accidents are also put under control with the help of new means of communication. Emergency services that provide production and livelihood of the Okrug have been modernized. In 2012-2013 with the creation of a single “112” hotline system of emergency services hardware and software systems for common dispatch services were renovated. The state system of prevention and liquidation of emergency situations became more mobile and flexible within the framework of crisis management. The municipal and regional organs of daily management of unified state system's territorial subsystem in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra for the prevention and liquidation of emergency situations improved their information interaction.

 

         The Internet trains top chess players

 

         The world of smart entertainment is also involved in the information revolution. 52 Internet Centers of chess skills (ICCS) in 22 municipalities were created for training of high-class chess players and attracting children and adolescents to play chess. These centers are equipped with not only computer facilities connected to a local-area network with the Internet connection, but also with specialized software.

         “Ugra Chess Academy” and Ugra Chess Federation help beginners to understand the rules of this intellectual game. The Academy has set a task to use the latest technologies and techniques of chess education, as well as to implement  international standards of distance learning.
         Ancient intellectual game is successfully integrated into the general and additional education systems of the Okrug. It is becoming more popular with Ugra residents of all ages, in cities and provinces. Internet Centers of chess skills give   Ugra amateurs, teachers and sportsmen an opprtunity to upgrade their chess level. Comprehensive approach to the use of new technologies brought to the emerge of Ugra phenomena in the world chess arena.

 

 

         In the global information space

 

         With this new communication level the integration into the global information society is inevitable. On June 4-5, 2014 Khanty-Mansiysk hosted 6th International IT-Forum with the participation of the BRICS countries.

         The IT-Forum was aimed at the establishment of direct contacts with the BRICS countries for the exchange of best practices and technologies, the establishment of international “innovative lifts” for new developments and projects that can improve the quality of life, as well as design the plans for long-term strategic cooperation in the social sphere.

         Over 1500 delegates from 19 countries, including all BRICS countries took part in the IT-Forum. In addition, the event brought together representatives of 32 Russian entities. More than 100 leading IT-companies, including the largest CISCO, Epson, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, and 10 oil companies sent their representatives to the Forum.

         The Strategic Congress “Information Technology as an innovative basis for the strategic development of the regions of the BRICS countries” became the key event of the Forum. The Congress was held in 8 thematic sessions, more than 120 reports were heard.

         The issues of IT-services in the social sector (health, education, culture, life safety) were actively and creatively discussed. Given special social significance of state health development programs realized in BRICS, the Health Working Group of BRICS countries on telemedicine was established and the respective memorandum was signed. Besides, the delegated discussed information security, e-government, IT-technologies in business and the use of space activities for the development of regions and countries.

         The Congress resulted in the signing of eight cooperation agreements.

         Along with the Congress, the specialized exhibition “Industry of Information Technology for Public Administration” brought together more than 100  participants.  A series of events took place for professionals in IT and the audience alike.

         The official website of IT-Forum: http://www.itforum2014.admhmao.ru.
         The incorporation and development of ICT make ancient Ugra an integral part of the modern world.