Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, says the island’s first Virtual Reference Station network (VRS), being implemented by the National Land Agency (NLA), is vital to developing policy for population expansion and urban planning.
He said that based on the Statistical Institute of Jamaica’s (STATIN) Population and Housing Census 2011, the island’s population at last count was approximately 2.697 million, representing a growth of less than 100,000 persons, or a 3.5 per cent increase in population over the previous count of 2.607 million in 2001.
“As policy makers, we cannot and should not consider these numbers in a vacuum…the majority of us are crammed into urban centres around the world. This brings to the fore, a different set of challenges as we try to cope with the sheer volume of humanity overwhelming our cities. At the local level, we must ensure our town centres and cities develop in an orderly manner with due consideration of these factors,” the Minister said.
Mr. Pickersgill was speaking on February 7, at the launch and handing over of the VRS Network, code-named gFIX.net, by the Ministry’s Spatial Management Division to the NLA, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
The VRS network is an integration of permanent base stations, which provide high-accuracy, real-time global navigation satellite system positioning across a wide area, through the distribution of correction data, which is transmitted to users in the field.
The gFIX.net services can be utilized in a wide variety of operations that require high precision positional accuracy, such as: urban planning, agriculture, surveying, mining, geographical information systems, vehicle tracking, and navigation.