Home Articles ‘We Aim to Create Synergies Between Geographic and Statistical Information’

‘We Aim to Create Synergies Between Geographic and Statistical Information’

Rolando Ocampo
Rolando Ocampo
Vice President
National Institute of Statistics and Geography

With an aim to coordinate statistical and geographic information, Rolando Ocampo, Vice President, National Institute of Statistics and Geography, explains how the institute provides value-added services and products which further promote the use of geographic information

What are the objectives of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI)?

Established around 30 years ago, INEGI is dedicated to coordinate the statistical and geographical information of Mexico. Our institution adopts best practices in the fields of statistics and geography. INEGI changed its legal personality in 2008 after attaining technical and management autonomy. We gather information from all state organisations, municipalities and autonomous organisations. We have a national council for all the state and autonomous organisations, the senate and the deputies who participate in establishing the National System of Statistical and Geographical Information System (SNIEG).

Combining statistics and geography is for better coordination. What geographic products do you produce and what kind of statistical data is added for better synergies?

We have collected all geographic information from the states with the help of the SNIEG, and created a statistical framework. SNIEG has 168 layers of information of water, electricity, ecology, roads, geodesy, land etc. To make this more accessible to people, we have created a digital map of Mexico and all the information is overlaid on that. This information is online and available freely to the public. We developed this product with free open source software as we did not want to rely on any particular software. We have maps at different scales of 1:50,000 and 1:20,000. For landuse and vegetation, we have maps at lower resolution, at a scale of 1:250,000. We have also developed a project called GeoPDF, whereby one can select a digital map of Mexico and download it in the PDF version.

The statistical, geographic, agricultural and all other information layers that INEGI has collated makes it an SDI. Does INEGI also provide value-added services using this database or is just a data provider?

The law says that we must have a directory of all economic units. We can have it in the form of a list, excelsheet or it can be georeferenced. We have created a programme called DENUE (Directory of National Statistics Unit). The tool provides identification and location of 4 million economic units of the country. One can find drug stores, companies, supermarkets, electricity utilities, travel agencies and so on as all the economic activities are georeferenced on a map. People can access all information like addresses, number of employees, name, telephone, email etc. We have also developed a new version, wherein business owners can go to the DENUE and update the database with any special offers for people. So, this is one way of adding value to the people. People from big companies such as McKinsey have said they use this information as it is very useful for them. We are also putting structures of houses, whether they have roads nearby, water etc. on the map under the National Housing Inventory. We also produce data in larger/higher scales like 1:1,000, 1:2,000 or 1:5,000 scale for urban areas. All this information is available to the public for free.



The Directory of National Statistics Unit providesidentification and locationof 4 million economic units of Mexico


INEGI is an autonomous organisation. What is the business model it adopts to sustain itself?

We are an autonomous body but we have to answer to the Congress and it also authorises our budget. Since it is the tax payers’ money, we are mandated to give all information to the public. We produce all kinds of maps, geospatial information, economical information, pricing index, surveys etc.

One of the mandates of INEGI is to promote the use of geographical information. What are the mechanisms through which INEGI does this?

One is to develop easy programmes that promote the use geoinformation in schools and universities. We coordinate with the Ministry of Education and give them geographical information needed for the textbooks. There are 31 states in Mexico and we aim to diversify this information all over the country. We also impart training to the students in universities, make presentations about our work and how the information can be used to benefit us.

INEGI is also a member of the regional SDI, PC-IDEA. What is its role?

In August 2013 the name of PC-IDEA was changed to UNGGIM Americas and we are very active in our initiatives. Mexico is presiding the UN-GGIM Americas currently. One of the mandates we have is to create an environment to incorporate the Caribbean countries. Currently, there are 24 countries in UN-GGIM Americas and 11 countries in the Caribbean.

Is land administration a part of INEGI’s mandate? No, we have an agreement with land administrative offices and we coordinate in their activity. Mexico created an agrarian register and the mandate of the register is to measure all the social land. For that, the government asked INEGI to measure all the social land. So, we created an institute and launched a programme called Procede. We approached ejidos or the social farmer organisations (tillers) to measure the land parcels and the common areas, and have almost 30,000 ejidos with us. Around 52% of Mexico is social land. We gave this data to the Agrarian Registry. The cadastres are the responsibility of the municipalities and we just provide the data, but cannot use it. The administrative responsibility of all cadastral maps lies with the municipalities that fall under SEDATU (Ministry of Social Development).

What are the next steps for INEGI?

Our next step is to make new information accessible to the public. We are trying to upgrade our software, make information easily accessible, complete 1:20,000 scale mapping and produce information with that map scale. We also aim to modernise all statistical information and link that data to geography. Our main objective is to provide the data, not to do analytics. But in some cases, we did analytics work too, just to show people how to use this information. We have a statistical and analysis laboratory where one can get all the information necessary for making a project. We also have an agreement with the national scientific institute and the National University of Mexico (UNAM) to make some investments in our project.