Mapping Agencies Set the Way for Development

A country’s growth cannot be charted without addressing the question of ‘where’. The Symposium on National Mapping, held on Day 2 of Geospatial World Forum 2022, bore testimony to the critical role of mapping in a nation’s affairs. After the opening keynote and the first session — on integrated geospatial value chain in realizing a digital economy — the second session commenced, titled Role and Relevance for National Development.

The session was moderated by Albert H. Anoubon Momo, Vice President & Executive Director, Emerging Markets and Funded Projects, Trimble, USA, who introduced the panelists and outlined the purpose of the session — to examine the role and relevance of national mapping agencies for national development.

The panel gave presentations, with each person sharing their opinion and ideas. Brig. Gen. Md. Habibul Huq, psc, Surveyor General, Survey of Bangladesh was invited to present first where spoke on the role fulfilled by the Survey of Bangladesh in the country’s development. At the outset, he began by saying, “Digital transformation is happening at unprecedented speed, and geospatial information and technology are fundamental for socioeconomic growth and development.” Huq then went on to describe the history of his organization and the key role it plays in the country’s progress while also highlighting the key areas where the agency sought to expand its operations.

Jean-Desire Rajaonarison, Director General, National Geographic and Hydrographic Institute of Madagascar was next to present, detailing the mapping initiatives in the country, including its mandate. Key things he highlighted were the nature of Madagascar’s demographic (80 percent of the population lives in rural areas), how land was the biggest reason for disputes in the country (accounting for 60 percent of court cases), and the extent of how climate change has affected the country.

Rajaonarison also mentioned ongoing projects and concluded by saying, “The perspective is to develop an Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF) country-level plan.”

Within Jamaica’s context, Simone M. Lloyd, GISP, Principal Director (Acting), National Spatial Data Management Branch (NSDMB), Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation looked at geospatial mapping from three perspectives — national geospatial entity, national mapping agency, and national urban development agency. “Given the goals of the national development plan, it ties strategically with the theme ‘Geography and Humanity’,” she said.

Darko Vucetic, Head of Centre for Geospatial Information Management, Republic Geodetic Authority, Serbia, spoke about land administration and geospatial infrastructure on the topic Digital transformation in Serbia. “There is a big mess when you want to digitize property holdings. There are no differences between countries or big differences between institutions everywhere,” he said speaking on land administration across boundaries and how, in order to address the problem, the Republic Geodetic Authority changed several laws and policies. In fact, the authority’s website is the fourth most popular site in Serbia.

Last, but by no means the least, Sandra Liliana Moreno Mayorga, Technical Director Geostatistics, Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística – DANE, Colombia spoke about governance of geostatistical data in the country. “We have a national project that is very important for us, which is that we need to update the cadastral information. To do that, we are working with two systems — one is the National Spatial Data Infrastructure and the other is the National Statistical System — to promote the use and dissemination of cadastral data.”