In early 1999, the Department of Territory (DT), Geneva Canton, Switzerland, commissioned GRID-Europe to create a local meta-database tailored along the lines of the European-designed Catalogue of Data Sources (CDS).This catalog aimed to promote the exchange of environmental information by identifying "who has what environmental information in the Geneva region and how to access it".
Several presentations about this project were held for information suppliers involved in environmental meta-data activities, grouped under the Technical Commission of the Environmental and Energy Information System for the Geneva Region (SIEnG). The CDS-Geneva was widely acclaimed by members of the Technical Commission, who emphasized its utility for the timely location of environmental information.
This activity was closely related to the development of the CDS at the national level for Switzerland, which was also carried out by GRID-Europe on behalf of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) . As a result, all the meta-data of the Canton Geneva was included in the new application of Swiss CDS, called envirocat. In this context, an update process began at the end of 2004, and has been achieved in 2005.
GRID-Europe provided valuable support through its partnership with DT to the various Geneva cantonal services and finished the work in collaboration with them in the last quarter of 2005. Nearly 400 cantonal metadata from approximatively 30 services are now available at: http://www.envirocat.ch. The web portal http://www.sieng.ch (Geneva Environment Information System), which is hosted and supported since 2000 by GRID-Europe, allows various environmental Geneva stakeholders (approximatively 30 services of various cantonal Departments, City of Geneva, Industrial Services of Geneva, some international institutions such as UNEP, CERN, UNITAR, eg.) interested in cantonal environmental projects to have access to this exchange platform.
The open-source application used (SQuAW, a PostgreSQL/PHP development) was upgraded in October 2005 in order to propose new features to users and a more friendly interface. This application allows collaborative work, secure and restricted access, document repository and self-management of html pages without knowledge of html language). GRID-Europe followed the upgrade development, developed the new graphic style, and continues to support the users actively. This application is greatly appreciated by the services using it. Although this website is essentially meant for Geneva administration’s internal use, it was visited by 22,000 visitors in 2005.