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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land and Environment, Donovan Stanberry, has advocated the introduction and use of Geographic Information System (GIS) in all areas of life, especially in crime fighting and disaster management.
The Permanent Secretary, who was addressing the launch of Geography Awareness Week activities at the Montego Bay Civic Centre on November 15, said that GIS was an effective tool in crime management, as it would help to identify and target trouble spots.
He noted further that, “the technology could prove to be useful in disaster management, mapping and just about anything that requires spatial data as an input in decision-making”, adding that the technology had also been hailed as a useful tool in environmental planning and sustainable development.
The event, organized by the Ministry of Land and Environment, involved an exhibition of the use of the GIS systems in government and private sector organizations.
GIS is a computer technology that combines geographic data and other types of information to generate visual maps and reports. The data generated can be used in all spheres of life.
The Ministry is attempting to introduce the technology to the education system, through the GIS in Schools Programme.
“We have a responsibility to engage our young minds and to expose them to the latest technology such as GIS and GPS (Global Positioning System), so that they, armed with that kind of technology, can focus their attention on helping to solve some of our problems as a nation”, Mr. Stanberry said.
He noted that the GIS in Schools Programme was a step in the right direction, as this could enhance the learning experience for students, teachers and the community.
“I strongly believe that GIS has the potential to make the discipline of geography and many other subjects dynamic, practical, vocationally relevant and exciting for students”, he added.
As part of the launch, the Ministry and the Caribbean Institute of Technology (CIT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the training of GIS officers in disaster planning, development and management.
GIS Awareness Week is being observed under the theme: ‘GIS-securing our communities’.