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PIOJ Director of Sustainable Development, Mrs Nadine Brown, urged geospatial professionals across the public and private sector to:

(1) ensure that the objectives of the GIS processes are aligned to national strategic priorities;

(2) collaborate for the efficient use of limited human and financial resources; and

(3) aim to transform their space with geospatial technologies.

She said this against the backdrop of the challenges faced in the local geospatial arena despite notable achievements over the past 25 years.

Achievements in the sector were highlighted using the PIOJ’s annual GIS Growth and Development Survey, which showed improvement in 4 of 5 key categories over a 10-year period.

The categories included capacity, finance, standards, accessibility and availability and awareness. Lagging behind were indicators related to the standards category with only 12% of respondents practicing metadata management consistently and 16% with metadata available for over 50% of their datasets in 2019. She called for improved metadata management across the sector because of the implications it can have on data sharing and the impact the lack of metadata has had on spatial data intensive projects in recent times.

Giving examples of how geospatial technologies are providing solutions, Mrs Brown showed that despite the challenges, GIS has positively impacted the country’s development by advancing the goals articulated in the Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan. She revealed how the technology was used to support effective social protection through the mapping and analysis of social housing interventions. She also showed how a private sector entity has assisted the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ COVID-19 Task Force by mapping the NHF’s diabetic and hypertensive clients, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s PATH beneficiaries.

Mrs Brown called for a more effective use of remotely sensed data and for the finalization and development of a National Geospatial Information Management Policy. Noting that the GIS sector had lost more than 40 trained professionals over the 10-year period due to migration, she urged for a formal recognition of the profession on the public sector salary scale.

The PIOJ Director was the keynote speaker at the 2nd Jamaica GIS Virtual User Conference held September 25. It was hosted by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, its National Spatial Data Management Branch and the Land Information Council of Jamaica under the theme “Geospatial Technologies: Shaping Our Future.”

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