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Market needs to play a key role in influencing policy

Dr Alireza Gharagozlu
Manager of Public Relations and Int’l Affairs of National Cartographic Center, Iran

What forms the main activities of this premier organization of Iran?

National Cartographic Center of Iran (NCC) is affiliated to the Management & Planning Organization. The main objection and tasks of NCC are centralizing all surveying and geographic activities, map preparation, standardization of all surveying and geographic processes, implementation of fundamental surveying operations, preparation of base maps, and determination of sea level for surveying activities, aerial photography, and a lot of other activities in Geomatics field for the nation of Iran.

What are the main activities and products of this Center?

The main products of NCC are related to its key activities. NCC prepares base maps at different scales (of the country at the scale of 1:25000 and also at other required scales needed for economic, social and cultural development projects of the nation), thematic maps, and planning and implementation national atlases. It is also in the process of designing and establishing GIS, LIS and National Topographic Databases (NTDB) for Iran. Aerial photographs (films, digital images, etc.) and Hydrographic operations including preparation of basic hydrographical charts and in other cases, collecting and processing of tidal data and predicting and preparing the tide tables also form prime activities. Quality control of all surveying activities in Iran and supervision and technical control of all mapping activities of both governmental and private sector institutions according to international standards also falls under the purview of this Center. The products of NCC are available through the Sales Section of NCC and also its agents throughout the country. The users can also refer to the NCC’s web site. (http//www.ncc.org.ir.)

What plans NCC has to meet the challenges of fast changing technologies and user needs?

NCC has tried to keep pace with the ever-increasing changes of technology. To meet the needs of the users and clients, NCC attempts to use latest technologies. Among these technologies we can refer to softcopy system which is designed and implemented by Iranian experts in NCC, installation of a camera on Falcon aircraft for aerial photography, building a ship for hydrographic activities which is named “Iran Abnegar” and is one of the most advanced hydrographic ships, NCC has always tried to use the advices and experiences of other countries as well.

On the other hand preparation of large-scale maps from different cities of the country at the scale of 1:2000 has initiated and for 50 cities of the country, the maps have been provided and maps of other cities of the country at the scale of 1:2000 will be provided gradually. To provide these maps, NCC has used the potentials of private and governmental sectors. All the base maps at the scale of 1:25000 are also provided in digital form and by using the latest technology.

To what extent NCC is financially independent and sustainable?

At present, NCC is sustainable and independent to a great extent. A part of the funds needed for the general activities of NCC is generated by the organization itself through making contracts with private and governmental sectors in different Geomantic fields such as: Aerial Photography, GIS, LIS, hydrographic activates and surveying operations and by selling different kinds of maps and atlases. To increase such incomes, NCC has tried to activate its provincial branches and to accept some agents from private and governmental sections to increase the sales of its products throughout the country.

What initiatives have been taken in capacity building of the organization?

For capacity building for our organization, the research and planning department of NCC has a lot of researching programs in different aspects of Geometrics. An annual Geomatic Conference and Exhibition are organized each year in a national level. In 2003, this conference will be held with wider dimensions for the anniversary of 50 years of activities of NCC in production of maps and spatial information. Moreover, NCC is in direct contact with all research local and international centers and a lot of staff of NCC are educating in some of the best universities of the world in M.S. and Ph.D. courses.

How do you see the organization positioned in lines with the private sector?

The position of NCC in Geomatics activities of the country is an overall supervising role. Hence the role doesn’t see the private sector as a competitor while it is going to play a major role in the country. NCC doesn’t try to compete with private sector and has supportive policies for their promotion.

It aims more at partnership with private sector and to activate the executive role of this part in surveying and geomatics activities of the country with the overall supervision of NCC.