Eventually when Titan is further developed, people will be able to personalise the interface so that the system will send a user an SMS message on their phone making them aware of the fact that a planning application has been filed within a certain distance of their house. Also on the agenda is making it possible for people to apply for planning permission in full online, using GIS generated maps and Mr McAleer said the eventual aim would be to enable people to avail of a wide range of services through Titan, including renewing motor tax, for example.
Enabling general public access to services was one of the objectives of the National Development Plan and as part of the Titan programme 40 free public Internet access points have been opened around the region. People seeking a local authority house in a certain area within a certain distance of a primary school or shopping facilities would be able to enter their requirements on the system. Using GIS mapping, Titan would then pinpoint the best located available house in the area to suit their requirements.
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The site offers links to everything from health and social services and tourism and travel to grants and scholarships and distance learning. Funding opportunities, news, culture and heritage, links to a range of businesses and business services and sports, leisure and recreation are all covered by the site. Titan has been developed in co-operation with partners in Sogn og Fjordane in Norway, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and in the Tuscany region of Italy.
All these sites have links at www.
Mr McAleer said the structure of Titan means that it is easy for extra modules and parts to be added to the portal by different authorities, businesses and departments. There are plans for Titan to also include a site on areas such as housing, sanitary services and health with development along the same lines as the planning and development section. Plans for a housing site would include information on private, local authority and voluntary housing, as well mortgage allowance schemes, shared ownership options, housing loans and grants and tenant purchase schemes.
It is envisaged that eventually people would be able to enter their income details and the site would automatically calculate what rent they should be paying. Titan hopes to get as many organisations and businesses as possible involved in the site and demonstrations of the ability of Titan to streamline many processes have been held around the region.
The benefits of developing Titan are clear. Previously if a person living on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork wanted to check out who had applied for planning permission anywhere, they would have to have had driven a mile round trip to the local authority offices in Cork.
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Plans are also underway for the further development of the information society concept in the region. Funding is available from the EU for telecommunications companies developing infrastructure for regions but Mr McAleer said that under the schemes they will have to supply certain requirements.
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