We want National mapping agencies to be effective

We want National mapping agencies to be effective

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Megha Datta, Industry Manager - NGIO
Megha Datta, Industry Manager – NGIO

Megha Datta, Industry Manager for National Geospatial Information Organisations (NGIO) at Geospatial Media spoke why it is important to empower national mapping agencies..

Q1. What is the role of national mapping agencies in taking lead in carrying forward the growth story of their countries?

A. To understand the role of national mapping agencies in any country, it is first of all important to start looking at the nation or country and its economy and this is the centerpiece of the whole story. National mapping agencies are not just map producers, but are engines for development of economy, through the geospatial/ map content and geospatial services they provide.

Look at the chart below that provides an understanding on the relevance of national mapping agencies or surveying and mapping agencies or National Geospatial Agencies (NGAs).

Role of national mapping agencies in countries economy
Role of national mapping agencies in countries economy

From the above diagram its pretty clear that conducive policies and reasonable investments that national governments make in NGAs enables them to deliver better, more efficient content, which enhances the utility of geospatial content across sectors such as agriculture, transportation, infrastructure, health and education etc. This in turn enhances the value of geospatial content for these economies.

Q2. Geospatial national mapping agencies must be there globally. What are the ones that you are actively working with from Geospatial Media?

A. Yes there are many national mapping agencies that are actively implementing geospatial technologies or digital geography. We at Geospatial Media, at some point or the other have worked with most of these geospatial national mapping agencies.

Q3. What are the general challenges when you look at the future of national mapping Agencies?

A. Today, when we talk of the future of national mapping agencies, the challenges are multi-dimensional. We have been trying to address this – through Geospatial World Magazine, and Geospatial World Forum and other regional conferences.

If you look at mapping agencies from developing countries especially, they are faced with a number of challenges like below:

– Lack of awareness of modern available technologies
– Lack of trained human resource
– Resistance to change or share data from their professionals
– Institutional arrangements that are not conducive for growth
– Poor policy framework that do not support data sharing and uptake in best format
– Lack of understanding or connect with their users, other geospatial agencies, multilateral agencies etc.
– Lack of self-sustaining service delivery models

Q4. Is this training program aimed at addressing these challenges of national mapping agencies? How is the training program at Geospatial World Forum 2016 planned?

A.  Yes, while we have put our efforts in understanding the challenges, we wanted to take further steps in helping the national mapping agencies mitigate those challenges. So we are organizing a four-day training program Training Programme for Geospatial Agencies at Geospatial World Forum 2016 from 18-21 May, which will touch upon these issues. We are organising this training program with the support of UN-GGIM and GEO Secretariat where 12 experts will be delivering the training lectures.

Q5. What is the structure of this geospatial training program? How will the program benefit national mapping agencies?

A. The geospatial training program aims to benefit national mapping agencies address various challenges that are multi-dimensional, that we spoke before. Hence the training program for national mapping agencies includes:

  • Technology Advancements in Observation and Mapping of Dynamically Changing World
  • Stakeholders Engagement and Participation in National Geospatial Strategy
  • Capacity Development and Management Strategies
  • Guidelines for Implementation Empowering Geospatial Policies
  • Establishment of National Geospatial Information Infrastructure and Capacities
  • Evolving Role of Geospatial Agencies in Economy and Society
  • Emerging Service-delivery Models for Development, Management and – Dissemination of Geospatial Information