20 March 2006: Recently on March 17th, East View Cartographic (EVC) announced an agreement to become an official reseller of topographic and thematic maps from the Survey of Bangladesh. These nationally produced maps offer the best large-scale coverage available for Bangladesh and are ideal for uses such as project planning, natural resources development, trade and investment, humanitarian/disaster response, academic research, and even travel and tourism. EVC can provide complete country coverage of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 topographic maps. The Survey of Bangladesh has also produced a number of specialized series including 1:10,000 coastal mapping, a Dhaka city plan at 1:5000 scale, and a variety of political-administrative and thematic maps.
Julie Horns, Director of Marketing, East View Cartographic shared some more information about this initiative with GIS Development. On being asked which are the primary regions around the world where EVC is concentrating on establishing similar relationships with national mapping authorities she said – ‘ EVC provides geospatial products and solutions with a strong global orientation. An important part of this is working to establish relationships with national mapping authorities from around the world. EVC is working hard to increase the visibility of natively produced maps and geospatial data from areas such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. EVC already provides global coverage with American and Russian mapping and works with national mapping authorities around the world. Reseller agreements with agencies such as BAKOSURTANAL (Indonesia), the Chief Directorate of Surveys and Mapping of the Republic of South Africa, and the State Agency for Geodesy and Cartography for the Kyrgyz Republic (among others) help EVC reach the goal of providing the best mapping coverage available worldwide. EVC wants to help more national mapping authorities bring their products to a global audience. Unfortunately, many countries have worked in a culture of secrecy and are just starting to realize that the benefits of geospatial openness vastly outweigh the risks. By connecting libraries, telecom companies, energy exploration companies, economic development organizations and other interested parties to a country’s national maps EVC hopes to become a catalyst for international investment and positive growth. The demand for good maps is increasing and national agencies are realizing that they must open up their products to a broader audience in order to keep their economies healthy and secure.’
Answering a question on what further value can EVC add to the mapping products of Bangladesh, she informed that ‘ EVC is especially interested in negotiating digital rights agreements with copyright holders or their authorized agents. This gives much greater flexibility for the end user and allows EVC to provide value-added services from georeferencing to vectorization. With a digital rights agreement in place, EVC can provide maps of Bangladesh in GIS-ready formats that allow customers to use the data immediately without having to process it themselves. Digital products can be used to create updated topographic maps by combining maps with the most recent satellite imagery. EVC also offers sophisticated language translation services and is well-versed in issues concerning geographic names and boundaries.’
Finally she shared her views on who are the target customers for the mapping products from Bangladesh. She informed that ‘ EVC serves many markets including commercial entities, international organizations, and academic institutions. EVC hopes that wider availability of these maps will aid humanitarian efforts such as disaster relief, land-use planning, transportation planning, and the development of communications systems. Effective economic development efforts in Bangladesh depend on access to up to date maps. Even more important, as some countries in Asia found out after 2004’s devastating tsunami, lives can be lost when maps are kept secret. There are now some positive steps in the region. Mapping agencies in Sri Lanka and Nepal have recently declassified some of their large-scale maps. EVC is also working in cooperation with authorities in Afghanistan to create new maps over regions without reliable map coverage.