The productivity and efficiency of more than 260 government entities are expected to improve greatly with the use of newly acquired geographic information System (GIS) technology.
This follows a new enterprise licence agreement Jamaica has entered into with American technology firm, Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) – a global market leader in GIS technology that the Government of Jamaica has been utilising in its operations for almost 30 years.
The agreement will see Esri providing GIS resources for 265 Government and quasi-government institutions, including 179 educational entities.
Through utilisation of the products and services of Esri’s mapping and location analytics platform, ArcGIS, the Government will seek to apply geospatial information tools and technologies in resolving several issues – crime, health services provision and for the greater economic growth and advancement of the country.
Details have been provided by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Dr. Alwin Hayles, who noted that GIS and other geospatial technologies are critical to the day-to-day deliverables of a wide cross section of ministries, departments and agencies of government.
“GIS technology is used by planners, business persons, academia and policymakers across our island and around the world. Geospatial information dictates where we build, how we build, where we put necessary infrastructure to capitalise on and manage our resources,” he said.
“GIS has been an effective tool for the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal Environment and Climate Change and its agencies in the planning of developments as we seek to maintain the balance between the built and natural environment,” he added.
Dr. Hayles was addressing the 11th GIS Business Executive Forum, which was broadcast from Jamaica House on Tuesday (November 9).
The Permanent Secretary said he is pleased that in Jamaica a growing number of entities have bought into geospatial technology and are employing it to improve the way they work and do business.
“Use of geospatial technologies has increased significantly in both the public and private sectors over the past almost 30 years of Jamaica’s GIS landscape development as well as in the wider Caribbean region,” he noted.
Dr. Hayles further contended that geospatial information obtained through GIS and other forms of geospatial technologies “is the key that will allow us to ‘navigate the new normal’ and allow us to make the kinds of informed decisions that will benefit all”.
“I believe that in order to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business, GIS and geospatial information management will have to play an even greater role to make this objective a reality,” he said.
During the event, a panel discussion was also held and keynote speaker, National Government Business Manager for the Americas, Esri, Adam Reedy, gave a presentation focusing on how Governments can use GIS technology to improve service delivery.
Themed, ‘Geospatial Technologies: Navigating the New Normal’, the GIS Business Executive Forum sought to allow members of the private sector to present on their use of GIS and other forms of geospatial technologies.
It also facilitated opportunities for new awareness and interest in applying these technologies to aid business processes.
This is the first of four events that will be held over the next two weeks as part of activities for this year’s National Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day celebrations.
The events are being staged by the Land Information Council and the National Spatial Data Management Division of the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change.