May 14, Uganda – A new system for land surveying and GIS data collection has been launched in Uganda. The highly accurate GPS, a brain-child of the University of Florida professor of astronomy, Bo Gustafson, and a Ugandan scientist, Deo Apollo, was recently unveiled by the Lands State Minister, Baguma Isoke at a ceremony at Anderita Hotel in Entebbe.
The system uses high-tech astronomical positioning using satellite receivers. Gustafson’s firm, DataGrid, based in the US, is taking advantage of experience gained from more than 20 years of research and instrument building for NASA, the European Space Agency, and other space agencies where Gustafson’s skills have been utilised. Justine Bwogi, the Lands and Surveys Commissioner, said only 18% of land in Uganda has titles. “But with such fast and quite affordable system, surveying can be done faster and accurately,” Bwogi said.
Apollo, the DataGrid Africa Centre project manager, said they had designed a special GPS for Uganda called the MK Crane where the soft and hardware have been customised to fit the needs of local GPS users. He said this was done after a three-year collaboration with the lands ministry surveyors. “As scientists, we want to lower surveying costs. The system enables automation of land title processing using less time,” Apollo said.