Lands, Survey gets technical

Lands and Survey and Planning Department staff attended a geographical information systems technology conference in Bahamas recently.

Director of Lands & Survey Alan Jones and GIS Development Manager Garry Green made presentations at the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association 2006 3rd Caribbean GIS Conference attended by over 300 people from across the region, Africa and North America, states a press release.

Conference topics included the use of GIS in disaster management, land use, environment, urban planning, health and public safety and education. Also taking part from the Cayman Islands were Director of Planning Kenneth Ebanks; Planning Office, Assistant Director of Planning Haroon Pandohie and GIS Production Supervisor, Janet Dixon.

Mr. Jones explains that GIS is more than map making, ‘GIS technology allows complex data from studies and reports to be integrated and presented in a visual way on a map, as 3-D computerized animations or on websites with multiple layers of information available at a keystroke. GIS is invaluable in visualizing all types of information related to land, planning, finance, education, economy, health care, environment, and disasters.’

During the presentation Cayman Islands GIS: A Multifaceted Resource, Mr. Jones and Mr. Green demonstrated the department’s technologically advanced website, discussed how to make GIS services financially viable for government and gave a preview of the 3-D animation of George Town the department is developing.

This exciting technology will be used for disaster preparedness and planning purposes and also become an extension of the GIS itself since many users find it far easier to understand and manipulate geographic data when it is in a 3D format. The Cayman Islands is the only Caribbean jurisdiction possessing this cutting-edge technology.

Both presenters shared their experience during Hurricane Ivan during their second presentation, Disaster Preparation and Response in the Cayman Islands and offered advice on the lessons learnt from a departmental perspective. They also provided a detailed look at what the department and the Cayman Islands Government is doing in terms of development, implementation and use of predictive TAOS disaster hazard and loss models.

One of the promising outcomes from the meeting was that the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie pledged to report on the conference and share his enthusiasm for GIS to Caribbean leaders at a CARICOM meeting in the near future.

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