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Survey of Pakistan to be made national mapping agency

Pakistan: The government has decided to make the Survey of Pakistan into a national mapping agency, according to the draft of a proposed bill. According to the draft bill, the government will detain for at least three months elements damaging the Survey of Pakistan”s markings, sources revealed.

The Survey of Pakistan is a national mapping organisation responsible for surveying and mapping requirements of the Armed Forces as well as civilian organisations/ departments. Rapid developments in the field of surveying and mapping, especially computer-aided cartography, availability of satellite imagery and satellite-based GPS have greatly facilitated the art of map making.

As a result, a number of firms were engaged in mapping activities. Most of them, being non-professional, were not only producing sub-standard maps, but were also involved in mapping of sensitive areas without any authorisation. If the mushroom growth of such firms was not checked instantly, it would be a potential source of high security risk on the one hand and a decline in mapping standards on the other.

The Ministry of Defence argued that in the absence of any law and regulatory authority, it would be technically and legally difficult to keep a check on the unlawful activities of such unauthorised firms. Australia, China, India, Turkey, the US and the UK have already enacted supportive laws and framed necessary laws to regulate the mapping activities.

The objectives of regulating and implementing surveying and mapping standards was to obviate potential security risk to sensitive information, prevent damage to affixed survey markers, avoid duplication of effort in mapping and to transform the Survey of Pakistan into a National Mapping Agency, a draft of Land Surveying and Mapping Bill-2010 has been prepared by the Survey of Pakistan.

Salient features of the Bill are as follows: (i) transform the Survey of Pakistan into a National Mapping Agency ie an authority regulating surveying and mapping activities in the country; (ii) to make it compulsory for all firms involved in surveying and mapping activities to get themselves registered with the Survey of Pakistan; (iii) to make it obligatory for all firms involved in surveying and mapping activities to adopt surveying and mapping standards framed by the National Mapping Agency, ie the Survey of Pakistan; (iv) to stop unqualified/unregistered firms from taking part in surveying and mapping activities that could pose a security risk to the state; (v) to protect established and affixed survey markers at various locations across the country from damage by assigning their responsibility to local district management/ governments; (vi) to avoid duplication of efforts in the field of mapping especially in the public sector, thereby economising on public exchequer; and (vii) to assess mapping requirements of public and private sectors on a yearly basis, thereby lending technical support to federal and provincial developmental plans and activities.

Source: B Recorder