The Government is working to build a National Spatial Data Infrastructure for Jamaica.
This was disclosed by Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 24.
"This is necessary to facilitate sectoral growth, and for us to keep up with technological advancements and of course, provide for the geospatial data needs of the government and our people," he said.
Mr. Pickersgill said the Government will be working assiduously to prepare legislation to govern the geospatial industry.
"After 20 years being guided by policy, it has now become necessary to have a firm governance framework. We continue to build capacity in this area and I am pleased to report that we have even been delivering GIS training regionally and are looked upon as leaders in the area, in the Caribbean and Latin American region," he said.
The Minister argued that geospatial information can be a critical tool for decision makers, as they communicate issues and design solutions, for example, in the planning of towns and cities.
Mr. Pickersgill informed that work is currently underway on a metadata policy, which will make it mandatory for all creators of geospatial data to collect and maintain metadata, adding that all creators and users of geospatial data need to collect and manage metadata. Metadata is the information that describes and gives information about other data.
"This activity is important as it preserves the millions of dollars of investment made to create geospatial data. I therefore call upon all Ministers to do their part to ensure that their data are collected and maintained in line with policy," he said.
He further disclosed that the Government is in the process of contracting the services of an imagery distributor to procure the most current, highest available resolution, true colour, imagery of the entire island.
Mr. Pickergsill said the acquisition will be at a cost of $24.5 million and will be funded by contributions from over 15 geospatial data users, adding that the imagery will be distributed to over 40 entities to be used in their operations.
"I am pleased to say that this Government has continued to make the necessary investments, in the areas of training and education, technology, data collection and management, systems and processes and the preparation of standards and guidelines to manage the country's geospatial information. We have been successfully using this information to support management and decision making, not only in my Ministry, but across all of Government," he added.