International Affairs Office Planning Department
Geographical survey institute, JAPAN
Chief of International Affairs Office, GSI, Japan
This paper talks about the present status of NSDI in Japan, measures being taken by Geographical Survey Institute related to NSDI, and GSI Long-Term Plan for Basic Survey
The Geographical Survey Institute (GSI) has administrated the national surveying and mapping based on the Survey Act in Japan. Our major roles are: 1) planning the policies related to survey, 2) building SDI, 3) guidance and coordination for public survey, and 4) involvement in international activities. These tasks surely contribute to further development of Japan.
In 1995, great earthquake occurred and 6,432 people died in Kobe region, which increased interest of GIS to support disaster management and made the Government start measures to build Japanese NSDI in earnest. Since then, spatial data and GIS are rapidly prevailing and GSI well recognizes that both the effective administration of survey and the dissemination of various kinds of spatial data to general public are essential to the prosperous future of SDI.
Governmental policies to establish NSDI
The Liaison Committee of Ministries and Agencies Concerned with GIS (LCMACG), established in 1995, holds the responsibility of discussing NSDI in the Government of Japan. GSI has been involved in the Committee to support the Secretariat as a major organization related to NSDI. LCMACG made the Long-Term Plan for establishing NSDI in December 1996. One of the recent major activities was the formulation of ‘GIS Action Programme 2002-2005’ in February 2002. This Action Programme aiming at an easier and a better utilization of GIS data, envisions an IT-based society through:
- Efficiency, greater speed of the public services
- Creation of new business models in the industrial sector and new employment opportunities
The Programme includes about 60 specific actions to be taken, which can be summarized as follows:
- Development of environment for GIS utilization
- Standardization for NSDI and active involvement of the government
- Guidelines for digitization and dissemination of geographic information
- Digitization and provision of spatial data
- Promotion of GIS
- Efficient administration and enhancement of service quality by the government.
‘Digital Japan’ Initiative
In accordance with the Action Programme, GSI is promoting the ‘Digital Japan’ initiative. Digital Japan is a concept of realizing virtual Japan in cyber space and its dataset may include any geospatially referenced data in the past, present and future, which are stored, maintained and disseminated by different organizations through the Internet. Another key point is that Digital Japan enables users to integrate the dataset in any way they may wish. GSI believes that the popularity of Digital Japan is vital for a successful NSDI in Japan.
Basic geographic information of GSI and on other bodies are provided on the Internet. ‘Denshi Kokudo’ Web System is a tool to realize Digital Japan. By using Denshi Kokudo Web System, anyone can, anytime and anywhere, easily overlay and display various types of geographic information on the topographic map data provided by GSI. The Web System started its operations in 2003. Many local governments and other organizations established Web sites related to their geographic information using the Web System without preparing map data and Web-GIS server software.