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Pakistan to tighten measures for mapping

Pakistan: The Ministry of Defence (MoD), Pakistan, suggested to the government to frame a law that could stop unlawful activities of mapping firms, given that several countries, including Australia, China, India, Turkey, USA and UK, have enacted supportive laws, Business Recorder reported.
The Survey of Pakistan (SoP), a national mapping organisation, is responsible for meeting the surveying and mapping requirements of the armed forces as well as civil organisations/ departments. With the objective of regulating and implementing surveying and mapping standards in the country, to obviate potential security risk to sensitive information, to prevent damage to affixed survey makers, to avoid duplication of effort in mapping and to transform SoP into a national mapping agency, a draft land surveying and mapping bill has been prepared by the SoP.
The salient features of the draft include: (i) to transform SoP into national mapping agency; (ii) to make it compulsory for all firms involved in surveying and mapping activities to get themselves registered with SoP; (iii) to make it obligatory to all firms involved in surveying and mapping activities to adopt surveying and mapping standards framed by the national mapping agency ie SoP; (iv) to stop unqualified firms to take part in surveying and mapping activities that can pose a security risk to the State; (v) to protect established and affixed survey makers at various locations throughout the country from damage by assigning their responsibility to local district management; (vii) to avoid duplication of efforts in the field of mapping, especially in the public sector, thereby economising on public exchequer; and (viii) to assess the mapping requirements of public and private sector on a yearly basis, thereby lending technical support to federal and provincial development plan and activities.
According to the MoD, rapid developments in the fields of surveying and mapping, especially computer-aided cartography, availability of satellite imagery and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) has greatly facilitated the art of map making. Resultantly, a number of firms have engaged themselves in mapping activities. Most of them are non-professional and are not only producing substandard maps but are also involved in mapping of sensitive areas which they are not authorised to map.
“If growth of such firms is not checked instantly, it would be a potential threat of high security risk, on the one hand, and decline of accurate mapping within the country, on the other,” the report quoted MoD as writing to the government. The Defence Ministry clarified that in the absence of any law and a regulatory authority, it would be technically and legally difficult to keep a check on the unlawful activities of such unauthorised firms.
Source: www.brecorder.com