Guyana observes Geographic Information Systems Day

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Some students who attended the GIS celebration. Photo by: Adrian Narine

THE Central Housing and Planning Authority, in collaboration with the University of Guyana’s Faculty of Earth & Environmental Science, Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission; Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and Environmental Protection Agency celebrated the Geographic Information System (GIS) Day 2019, under the theme: ‘Geospatial Information is Critical for National Development.’

The celebration was held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre on Wednesday and several schools and institutions attended; the Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, along with the Dean, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Guyana, also attended.

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes, said her ministry was established because government realises that when it comes to technology, Guyana really was not where it needed to be, compared to our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and with the rest of the world.

She added that government started a very aggressive programme to ensure delivery of internet access to all the schools in the country; and we started off doing that in the Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) labs, teacher’s rooms even in the hinterland and remote communities.

Minister Hughes stated that for the first time in many years government is excited that there are 72 hinterland communities where internet connection has been installed, so that young people in schools can access free internet to do School Based Assessments (SBAs) and research; so far, she said, over 170 schools have been connected and over 130 other institutions of learning, including the University of Guyana and the Guyana School of Agriculture.

According to Minister Hughes, “We are also ensuring today that in the education system, internet is there so that young people can consider careers and can be a part of a process of pushing the development of technology in Guyana.So by 2020, we want to make sure that we have close to 200 online services; so that means the theory part of the drivers’ licence will be done eventually on line.

“So I’m encouraging you to be a part of this digital Guyana that we want to create; there are several schools that are developing apps through my ministry to test soils. Technology also allows us to do agriculture in a totally different way; the sky is the limit, you are the chosen generation,” she said.

The Dean, Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Guyana, Dr Temitope Oyedotun, elaborated on what Minister Hughes said; he also stated that in the 21st century and beyond, vital services that we need will always need Geospatial Data.
He added that in order for all this this to work, government would need to play an important role of providing the necessary infrastructure.

“I believe that the nation can meet all of its critical national development needs and it starts from paying attention to geospatial data,” Dr Oyedotun said.