I’m part of the Timor-Leste Geographic Information Group (GIG). For the past few months we’ve been planning to organize an event to raise awareness about mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) work that is going on in Timor-Leste. There isn’t much information about GIS and mapping in Timor. So this event hopes to educate the public and get people to start thinking about using data, information, maps, and geography to help them plan, develop, and help Timor-Leste’s growth.
It’s funny how so many projects that are ongoing or in the planning stages don’t think about collecting, compiling, and analyzing data for their work. There’s this term that is being used a lot these days… it’s “evidence-based…” Everywhere people use it, yet you’d think that all projects would naturally be using data and information to keep track of progress or challenges in their own project. I’m baffled that projects get to a certain stage and then they start using words like “evidence-based monitoring and evaluation”… shouldn’t monitoring and evaluating something be based on evidence (i.e. numbers, stats, information, etc.)???
Anyway, one aspect I’m hoping this event will encourage people to think about is that information, data, statistics, etc. is vital in all aspects of work… and the ability to visualize this (i.e. with maps, graphs, design) helps people to interpret and potentially understand it better to help them plan and/or evaluate their work so that they can improve and make things better.
Timor-Leste is still growing in this area, but given that the country is in it’s early stages of development, if the GIG through this event can encourage people to start thinking about collecting and maintaining data and information, and mapping it out, perhaps we’ll be able to help Timor-Leste move a little bit more ahead.
Here’s the press release for the event:
(a Tetun and Portuguese version can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/gigtimorleste/gis-day-2009)
<Dili, Timor-Leste, 9 November 2009> – The Geographic Information Group (GIG) in Timor-Leste announces that it will be organizing a unique week-long event about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mapping. The event will take place from 18-25 November 2009 at Casa Europa from 8am-5pm (excluding the weekend).
This event will coincide with National Geographic Society’s Geography Awareness Week (15-21 November) in the United States and GIS Day (18 November) – a global event to raise awareness of GIS technology and the important contributions it makes in the fields of science, technology, information, and development. Ho Mapa Ita Harii Futuru Timor-Leste provides an opportunity for those interested to learn about geographic information and GIS/mapping activities in Timor-Leste.
This one-week event will include both a permanent map exhibition open to the public and seminars/presentations about GIS and mapping technologies in action within Timor-Leste. Contributors to this event include the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy and Development, IOM, UNDP, UNMIT, UNICEF and BELUN, JICA, ERDAS and ESRI.
A GIS is a computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database about a location, such as streets, buildings, water features, and terrain, and turns it into visual layers. The ability to see geographic features on a map gives users a better understanding of a particular location, enabling planners, analysts, and others to make informed decisions about their communities.
For more information contact Toru Nagayama, Technical Advisor for Mapping to the Ministry of Justice (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: +670-746-8016)
About the Geographic Information Group (GIG)
The Geographic Information Group (GIG) is comprised of government, UN agencies, and NGOs who are actively using geographic information, GIS, and mapping to support Timor-Leste’s planning, development and humanitarian response.
The GIG is a forum for exchanging views and ideas about policy and technology issues within the GIS field, with the participation of experts from government and international organizations. This forum is currently being co-chaired by National Directorate for Land, Property and Cadastral Services (DNTPSC) of the Ministry of Justice and the UN. One of the GIG’s key functions is to facilitate knowledge and skills transfer between these organizations so that local government bodies can start developing GIS and spatial data infrastructure within Timor-Leste.