#Jamaica, October 12, 2017 – Kingston – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has lauded the Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ) for pioneering the development and maintenance of a national Geographic Information System (GIS) network over the past 25 years. He said that more than 50 State entities have implemented GIS in their operations, resulting in greater efficiency in the execution of their mandates.
These include the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), National Works Agency (NWA), National Water Commission (NWC), and Social Development Commission (SDC).
“Through the innovative use of GIS applications, we are becoming more effective and efficient in harnessing the power of our limited resources. We, however, acknowledge that there is still much more that can be done. We must think spatially to improve overall planning, monitoring, evaluation, information-sharing and communication,” Mr. Holness said.
He was delivering the keynote address at Tuesday’s (October 10) opening of the inaugural two-day Jamaica GIS User Conference held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. The Prime Minister said geospatial technology is applicable in assisting the Government’s strategic objectives, noting that its use in providing data to inform policy and action is invaluable.
“If we know how things are happening and why they are happening, then we can predict where they will happen, who will cause things to happen or who (they) will happen to…what will happen and when (they) will happen. In other words, geospatial information creates a predictive cycle,” he pointed out.
The Prime Minster praised former LICJ Chairperson, Jacqueline daCosta, for her indelible contribution to advancing GIS in Jamaica and modernising and reforming the planning, land policy and land management sectors. He further commended the National Spatial Data Management Division (NSDMD) for staging the conference in tandem with the LICJ, and urged the participants to explore how best GIS technology can be utilised to expand economic growth and job creation.
For his part, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who has responsibility for the NSDMD, said he is encouraged by the number of public-sector agencies that have been utilising GIS technology. He noted that these entities have used GIS to create data sets and applications in health, land administration, national security, and natural resources management, which have assisted in strengthening their core business processes and functions.
Mr. Vaz noted that the conference, under the theme ‘Geospatial Technologies: Mapping Our Way to Secure Communities’, is relevant and “synergises this Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and protection of our people”.
“I affirm that GIS in Jamaica is poised for great things. As we move forward, I wish to encourage us to continue the work that has begun. I am confident that at the end of these two days, we will have a greater understanding and deeper appreciation of GIS and its contribution to nation building and community development,” he added.
The conference, which concludes on Wednesday (October 11) forms part of activities marking the LICJ’s 25th anniversary.