PREMIER'S ADDRESS FOR GIS DAY 2017
Delivered November 16, 2017
Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your Special Day and event. I never knew there was a GIS Day and I ought to have known there should have been considering the important role that those who use GIS.
THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF GIS
Over the years, I have been exposed more and more to the uses of GIS and as a former member of the Electoral Boundaries Commission we had asked for these systems to be employed in 2006. We have traditionally restricted and even in those cases not fully utilized GIS in our national planning. A conversation a few months ago opened my eyes to its uses for crime fighting.
CDEMA’s recent report following the Storms calls for the use of GIS in assisting with mapping which will make future damage assessments easier.
All good uses and welcomed by me.
But as I prepared for today, I noticed that the…
Major areas of GIS application can be grouped into five categories as follows.
Large scale and precise maps and network analysis are used mainly for utility management. AM/FM is frequently used in this area.
Environment and Natural Resources Management
Medium or small scale maps and overlay techniques in combination with aerial photographs and satellite images are used for management of natural resources and environmental impact analysis.
Large or medium scale maps and spatial analysis are used for vehicle routing, locating house and streets etc.
Planning and Engineering
Large or medium scale maps and engineering models are used mainly in civil engineering.
Land Information System
Large scale cadastral maps or land parcel maps and spatial analysis are used for cadastral administration, taxation etc.
As I reflect on the many uses, I recognize how far behind we are, how useful this tool is and what great advances we can make if we were to just make the best use of tools that are at our fingertips.
I am a firm believer that we need data and should never shoot in the dark for planning at any level. When I think of the errors that we have made because of a lack of data, the incorrect allocation of resources, the insufficiency of resources, I think the time has come to do better.
Immediately in my mind, I see the value of GIS use in each of the major areas identified and if I had a wish list I would wish that as you discuss today amongst yourselves, that you look further and harder at collaborative efforts: resource sharing and how we can make best use of these systems for the development of the TCI. In a few short weeks we will present a Vision Document and thereafter a Medium Term Development Strategy which will seek for the first time in recent years to have a structured national plan outside of political manifestos alone but one that will marry all national priorities in a single document with resources channeled in a transparent way. Additionally as we look to begin work on the National Physical Development Plan, to support recent greater enforcement efforts for law enforcement bodies like immigration and planning and there is the hope that the Police in crime fighting and CLU will see the benefits of its use in its monitoring and containment of informal settlements. As these Departments are respectively under the Governor and the AG’s Chambers and not under Ministries, I see the need for a full Presentation on the uses of GIS as a must. I do not see how we will progress any of these plans without greater use of geographical information systems. I believe this to be urgent and I will commit following this Conference to assist in having this Presentation done so that we can plan resources in this financial year.
THE IMPORTANT ROLE YOU PLAY
Those of you present here today play a vital role in nation building and I know that many of you who truly appreciate the value of your field can easily be discouraged. I welcome this time here with you and to hear a bit of what can be done using GIS and how as Premier and Minister of Finance we can work better together to as your theme say but with a local twist “Discovering the Turks and Caicos Islands through GIS”.
There is much to do and I remain committed to working with each of you and collectively on the way forward and to the attainment of major goals by next GIS Day. Let us challenge ourselves today to begin to set goals and use these days in future to look back and hopefully celebrate while creating awareness and setting future goals with no doubt changing technology.
I look forward to spending time with you today and to being further enlightened (and I assume confused at times as well). Happy Belated GIS Day and I wish for you a productive time together and a progressive year and years ahead.
Again thank you for the Invitation and I welcome any other occasion you will individually or collectively wish to meet with me.