Vromi receives Special Achievement Award

POSTED: 09/25/13 5:51 PM

louis brownSt. Maarten – The Ministry Vromi is one of several 2013 recipients of a Special Achievement award from the leading Geographic Information Systems software developer Environmental Systems Research Institute.

Acting Secretary General of Vromi, Louis Brown, visited San Diego in July to receive the award on behalf of the ministry at the 2013 ESRI International Users Conference.

The award was given to Vromi for its recent initiatives in developing a national geographic information system for St. Maarten. Vromi has started laying the foundation for a national system by creating a digital base map that will have broad and multiple uses for St. Maarten that will benefit countless users within the public sector, and in the future the wider population.

The national information system will be particularly beneficial to institutions that require accurate and current digital geographic information about St. Maarten to increase their service efficiency and effectiveness.

With the robust technology of the system, Vromi aims to create a digital geographic platform where users can tap into the available information, as well as create and add other layers of geospatial data that can be shared among multiple stakeholders.

The foundation for the Vromi information system platform has been developed in collaboration with the land registry office of the cadaster of St. Maarten, whereby current information about all land parcels of the country are layered on the aerial photo and topographic map of St. Maarten. The first project undertaken by Vromi entails the creation of an authoritative map of the roads and road names of the island.

In collaboration with the Department of Statistics (Stat), an additional project is currently underway to survey, take inventory and categorize all existing buildings on St. Maarten with correct addresses. This information will be made available via the National Geographic Information Systems being developed by Vromi.

The Office of Disaster Management and Vromi have also participated in several European Union sponsored trainings and workshops under the Regional Risk Reduction Initiative (R3I – project) in the use of the system to support disaster management efforts.

This project has focused on the modeling of possible severe rainfall events and tsunamis, to identify the most vulnerable areas that may be threatened by such events and enable response strategies to mitigate the effects, such as loss of life and property. The flood modeling maps developed from this project are also being incorporated in the National Geographic Information Systems.

In the future, the National Geographic Information Systems of St. Maarten will also feature information on all established zoning plans, protected monuments, issued permits, and countless other geospatial data features that may be useful for planning, policy development, enterprise asset management and other purposes. This will be undertaken as a collaborative exercise with other potential users of the systems.

To further promote the development and use of a National Geographic Information Systems for St. Maarten, Ministry Vromi is co-hosting a workshop with the Caribbean Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (Urisa) that will be held in St. Maarten on November 6 till 8 at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort.

The workshop will be attended by delegates from various countries in the Caribbean who will be sharing and discussing key issues impacting the development of the Geographic Information Systems in their respective territories. The workshop will include a high-level Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) forum as a follow-up to the conference held in Jamaica in November of 2012, where the development of a Regional SDI will be discussed.

The event will also feature a Urisa workshop entitled “Return on Investment in Geographic Information Systems”, which will provide attendees with a session dedicated to assisting IT Directors and Managers, Geographic Information Systems Managers, decision makers and operational personnel to determine the return on investment for the Geographic Information Systems.

Furthermore, the event will also feature a 1-day workshop by the International Cartographic Association, providing a hands-on educational session on modern cartography through the application of “web mapping”, “open source” and “service-oriented mapping” technologies.

On the evening of November 6, the Ministry of Vromi and the Tourist Bureau of the Ministry of Economic Affairs will host an opening ceremony to commence the workshop.

After the workshop in November, the Vromi intends to host follow-up sessions on the topic of the development of the National Geographic Information Systems with all relevant stakeholders. The intention will be to engage prospective partners to outline a course of action that will enable an engaging and participatory approach whereby an effective national platform can be developed together with stakeholders.

As it is essential for government decision-making, business intelligence and communications, the Ministry of Vromi is encouraging attendance to the November workshop by all government entities, businesses and institutions that can benefit from the application of this technology.

For more information on the conference, interested persons can visit the Caribbean Chapter section of the Urisa website at www.urisa.org/chapters/caribbean-chapter.

For sponsorship, attendance and other opportunities, please contact the local Workshop Organizing Tatiana Arrindell at Tatiana.arrindell@sintmaartegov.org, or Miklos Giterson at Miklos.giterson@sintmaartengov.org.



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