GIS Users Celebrated 2021 Global GIS Day
Geographic Information System (GIS) users in the country celebrated the Global GIS Day 2021 under the theme “Discovering the world through GIS” at the National Auditorium in Honiara today.
GIS users from government Ministries, Non-government Organizations, State Owned Enterprises and students from the SINU GIS Training with Surveying and Environment Schools attended the program which focused on the use of GIS within various sectors in the country.
Speaking at the program, GIS Consultant Brian Pitakia emphasized on the importance of the GIS profession in terms of ensuring data collected for the development of the country is kept in the country for the purpose of future development needs.
He said as more people are becoming GIS users, government recognition towards the profession is needed.
“In some organizations where GIS users from other countries are contracted to do work in the country, data that they collect are taken back with them and not left in the country.
So, we want the government at the end of the day to recognize what we are doing. When there are projects that require our specialty, there are people in this nation who can help come up with analysis that can push towards our country’s development,” he said.
Mr Pitakia also emphasized on the need for a registered organization for GIS users in the country as there is a need for users to keep updated on the latest technologies used.
“It is important that we continue to upgrade and help each other. For some of us, the new technology is beyond our understanding.
We used to have training conducted by SOPAC here in the country so if we have a body that looks after this profession, we can organize small courses and workshops to upgrade our skills as well,” Mr Pitakia said.
National Disaster Management Office representative, George Bagaramu who also attended the program explained the important use of GIS to disaster risk management in the country.
“The use of GIS to disaster risk management is a fine example of how we utilize GIS in terms of data as well as the equipment that we use.
We do community-based disaster risk management where we help communities identify risks within their communities and from there, we develop response plans for them.
Now using GIS, we have drones flying over the communities to identify different hazards and from which we create a detailed product where we can identify where certain risks exist and how they can evacuate in the time disaster strikes,” he added.
Mr Bagaramu also stated that they are now working with more local GIS users in the country.
“For NDMO, we’ve worked with a number of GIS users and service providers from other countries to provide that service for us. But now we are drawing on local expertise to help us with that service,” he said.
GIS Day is celebrated annually on the 17th of November.
By Eliza Kukutu