Digital Japan is vital for success of NSDI

Digital Japan is vital for success of NSDI

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Watanabe Shigeki
Watanabe Shigeki
Director General of Geographical Survey Institute
Japan

Geographical Survey Institute recognises that effective administration of survey and dissemination of various kinds of spatial data to general public are essential for ensuring a prosperous future for SDI. GSI Director General Watanabe Shigeki shares his views

  • As the central organisation for surveying and mapping in Japan, what role do you perceive for GSI for the society at large?
  • The Geographical Survey Institute (GSI) has administrated the national mapping and surveying based on the Survey Act in Japan. Our major roles are: planning the policies related to survey; building SDI; guidance and coordination for public survey, and involvement in international activities. These tasks surely contribute to the development of Japan. Spatial data and GIS are rapidly prevailing, and GSI well recognises that both the effective administration of survey and the dissemination of various kinds of spatial data to general public are essential for ensuring a prosperous future for SDI.

  • What are the various products of GSI and how much are they accessible by the public and private players?
  • We have been publishing various kinds of spatial data. GSI 1/25,000; 1/50,000 and 1/200,000 scale topographic maps cover entire Japan, all of which can be purchased at major bookshops and the Japan Map Center. The 1/25,000 topographic maps are provided in about 4,300 printed sheets. Main items of 1/25,000 scale maps are digitized as spatial data framework in the whole Japan by standardised vector format and are available in the form of CD-ROM. 53 CD-ROMs cover the whole country.

  • In many countries, some spatial data are not allowed to go to public domain due to security implications. What is the policy of GSI in this regard?
  • GSI provides various survey results, maps and spatial data. The Survey Act provides that the Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) shall publish maps and related materials. GSI believes this policy of publication contributes to further development of the nation as well as SDI, through effective applications related to administrative decision making. In addition, GSI approves of copying a map only for a non-profit purpose or of using a map in order for any other person or body to make other thematic maps, free of charge. Japan road network maps, which are prepared using GSI maps are sold at almost every bookshop, and car navigation is also becoming more popular. This is, GSI believes, much related to the free use of GSI topographic maps.