GIS - 27 May 2014: High-level officials from several ministries and public organisations gathered yesterday at the Gold Crest Hotel to discuss and chart the way forward for the establishment of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) in Mauritius. The NSDI will be a platform for collecting, sharing and disseminating geospatial data which aims at facilitating access to information, free of charge, and providing a special tool for analysing, and determining solutions to the needs and requirements of national development objectives.
The one-day high-level meeting on the Initiation of the implementation of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) was organised by the Ministry of Housing and Lands. The purpose was to sensitise stakeholders on the importance of sharing, disseminating and access to geospatial data, that is information which describe and identify location and features on the national territory such as topography, land use, population density and road networks.
At the opening ceremony, the Minister of Housing and Lands, Dr Abu Twalib Kasenally, GOSK, FRCS Ed, stated that the Spatial Data Infrastructure is the ideal solution adopted by many countries and should be viewed not only as a tool which will benefit government, citizens, entrepreneurs, planners, recreationists, scientists, businesses and universities but also as a strategic investment in the economic, environmental and social well-being of people and communities.
According to the Minister, the NSDI for the Republic of Mauritius will serve the needs and strengthen the decision-making capabilities at all levels of Government where geospatial information is required. “Our ability to make sound decisions collectively at the local, regional, and national levels is dependent on the NSDI that provides for compatibility for accessing and using geographic data”, he said.
The objectives of the implementation of the NSDI, which is line with the vision of the Ministry of Housing and Lands to provide a solid basis for the long-term physical development of the country, are five-fold. First it will make geographic data available to government departments, private institutions and the public free of charge via Internet. It will also contribute in decision making process for infrastructure protection, economic development efforts, asset management, and environmental protection. The NSDI is also expected to eliminate data redundancy and enhanced information exchange among government agencies without sacrificing program goals and autonomy. Finally, the NSDI will reduce data acquisition, mapping maintenance, and analysis costs over time for government, due to data standardisation as well as regular and timely updates of core data.
The high-level meeting will be followed by a four-day workshop on the implementation of the NSDI in Mauritius. The workshop will be conducted by resources persons from the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RDCMRD). The assistance of the RDCMRD has been sought for the setting up of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure in Mauritius. RDCMRD is an inter-governmental organisation with contracting member States in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa with programmes oriented towards the provision of different services and applications and capacity building initiatives in natural resource development and environmental management.
Following the workshop, the Ministry of Housing and Lands proposes in due course to set up a technical working group comprising the stakeholders to ensure the way forward as chalked out during the workshop.
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