JIS News

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has reported that it has, through the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), been making informed and prudent decisions regarding land use and development in the island.
State Minister in the Ministry, Victor Cummings, informed the House of Representatives in his 2006/07 Sectoral presentation on Wednesday (July 26), that the Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ) “has been spearheading GIS development and the creation of the National GIS Network.”
He said that the LICJ now consisted of 50 Government and quasi-government organsations, which have been increasing using GIS technology to improve their daily operations, particularly in “planning and infrastructure projects, sustainable management and the development of land resources.” Mr. Cummings said this was made possible due to the increased use and availability of base maps and spatial data through the Lands Ministry.
Mr. Cummings announced that through GIS spatial mapping technology, the LICJ could now access satellite image update for central to South East Trelawny, central Manchester, South West Westmoreland, South East Clarendon and the Southern parts of Hanover and St. Elizabeth.
The LIJC and the Spatial Data Management Division continues to provide GIS advice and support to major government projects such as Highway 2000.
This technology, he informed, would have special utility in the event of major disasters, as the facility now existed to create maps, on demand, of disaster-prone areas.
He said this could soon be improved if additional financial support was received through a National Mapping Fund, the request for which has been placed before the Cabinet.
“The Fund will provide a permanent funding stream to support the creation and maintenance of the island’s critical data sets in a comprehensive, consolidated and timely manner,” he said.
Mr. Cummings further stated that through the supply of current and comprehensive maps, the successful preparation of development plans, building orders and other land related activities could be expedited.
He also assured that the Ministry’s commitment to provide GIS training to its staff would continue and that this initiative had been undertaken since 1998. Mr. Cummings informed that the number of government agencies and ministries capitalizing on the technical workshops had grown exponentially over the years.
This year, he said, some “eight training courses were conducted for officers from the local authorities and the National Environment and Planning Agency” with 30 officers participating.
Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day will be observed from November 12 to 17 under the theme, ‘GIS Beyond the Click’ and the importance of GIS as a science will be highlighted.