Spatial Data Division made Significant Strides Last Fiscal Year


The Spatial Data Management Division in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands made several significant achievements during the last fiscal year, chief of which was the establishment of a national portal to access geospatial data.
“This geospatial web portal will seamlessly integrate information on geology, topography and socio-economic conditions locally and hence facilitate the development of disaster management initiatives and sustainable planning activities,” said State Minister in the Ministry, Victor Cummings.
The State Minister, who was making his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (July 3), informed that base data on Jamaica such as parish boundaries, road network, rivers, schools, hospitals and fire stations are available via the portal.
“There are also emergency management data sets inclusive of emergency shelters, hurricane tracks from 1950 to 2005, and high risk flood-prone areas, among others. The national benefits over the long-term will be noticeable with improvements in the development approval process as information, which is needed to make decisions, will now be readily available and accessible,” he pointed out further.
Another achievement of the division was the development of metadata guidelines, which were approved by Cabinet in July 2006. Metadata is “data about data” and these guidelines will ensure the maintenance of the government’s investment in spatial data, explained Mr. Cummings.
“This is fundamental to the national spatial data infrastructure and the management of data resources, data recovery, re-use and data sharing among users,” he told the House.
In addition, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ), 80 persons from both the public and private sectors were trained at the LICJ Geoinformatics Lab during 2006.
The Minister also informed that the Ministry partnered with the Caribbean Institute of Technology to develop the Certificate in Geographic Information programme. “This course was developed in order to offer increased career opportunities to young Jamaicans in a new exciting and growing technological field,” Mr. Cummings said.
The Spatial Management Division is responsible for coordinating the development, implementation, maintenance, and management of a national networked Geographic Information System, among land and land related agencies.

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