The 1st Conference on the Belize National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) concluded on Thursday, July 31st, 2009 in San Ignacio. Over forty professionals from twenty five organizations from the public, commercial, industrial and NGO sectors participated in this endeavour to enhance Belize’s geospatial data capabilities.
The objective of the conference was to preparethe participants for the development of an implementation plan for theBelize National Spatial Data Infrastructure. We intend to complete thedraft implementation plan by the end of October 2009 and to present itfor discussion at the Second NSDI Conference scheduled for the week ofthe 16th of November 2009.
Toward that end, we established four working groups that will make submissions to the project implementation team every three weeks in line with their terms of reference. The project implementation team, made up of representation from Ministry of Natural Resources, Galen University, NASA, CATHALAC, Pan American Institute of Geography and History, and Belize Environmental Resource Data System (BERDS) is responsible for compiling the draft plan. The working groups are:
1. Data quality and data standards, including metadata creation,
2. Infrastructure design and implementation
3. Data ownership and accessibility
4. System maintenance and oversight
At the end of the conference the participating organizations were encouraged to sign on to a Memorandum of Understanding expressing their commitment to the formulation of the implementation plan. Many of the participating organizations signed on. In some cases, the participants did not have the authority to sign but they committed to get the relevant authorities in their organizations to review the MOU and make a decision on whether to sign on or not.
The draft plan will address the tangible and intangible components of the SDI. Consequently, we will be looking at policies and procedures, data quality and data documentation standards, and portals and data access options.We are in the beginning stages, but we are hopeful that over the next 21 months to get the SDI off the ground and operational. This effort is led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, through the Land and Surveys Department, in collaboration with Galen University, NASA, CATHALAC, Pan American Institute of Geography and History.
On November 9th and 10th, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment through the Land Information Center (LIC) of the Department of Lands and Surveys held Belize’s Second National Spatial Data Infrastructure (BNSDI) Conference at Banana Bank Lodge, Cayo District, Belize. Spatial data, most commonly referred to as GIS data, is a very powerful tool being used around the world for resources management and decision-making. In Belize many stakeholders are now using GIS and understand the importance and usefulness of this tool; however, there is only limited accessibility to good GIS data.
The process of developing Belize’s NSDI began in 2009 with Belize’s first NSDI Conference. There was a metadata training conducted in July 2010, and a NSDI Working Group Workshop was held on 6th October, 2011. All of these activities are geared towards the development of Belize’s NSDI.