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Experts ask Museveni to expedite data infrastructure policy

By Francis Emorut

Added 19th November 2019 02:50 PM

The experts pointed out that once the NSDI is in place then data will be integrated into one location.

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The KCCA acting executive director (left) interacts with UPDF officer Col Kanyoma during GIS meeting in Kampala. Photo by Francis Emorut

The experts pointed out that once the NSDI is in place then data will be integrated into one location.

Experts on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have asked President Yoweri Museveni to intervene in ensuring that the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) policy is approved. 

They argued that it has taken 20 years since its draft form was written and the public is still waiting for the final policy.  

The experts pointed out that once the NSDI is in place then data will be integrated into one location (put in one portal) rather than having different ministries, departments and agencies managing their own data. 

"We need to sit down and brief the President about the importance of having a National Spatial Data Infrastructure policy. This needs his intervention and once we are backed by him then all bottlenecks would have been addressed," Dr. Richard Irumba the director of planning at Kampala Capital City Authority said. 

The objective of the NSDI is to provide a national infrastructure for access, and use of geospatial information in decision making at local, national and regional levels for economic development.

 he  acting executive director right interacts with participants during  meeting in ampala hoto by rancis morut The KCCA acting executive director (right) interacts with participants during GIS meeting in Kampala. Photo by Francis Emorut

 
Reid Talemwa GIS officer at Uganda National Roads Authority emphasised the need for professionals from the military, police, and academia and others to come together and utilise the benefits that come along with GIS technology.

He noted that this will only be possible if the data infrastructure policy is in place. 

"Otherwise, it will be a white elephant," Talemwa stated. 

Col. Tunyuma Kanyoma a UPDF officer stressed that having central data at one location put in a portal should be encouraged as it has been done by some countries. 

He advised the National Planning Authority mandated to come up with data infrastructure policy to benchmark from other countries that have been successful.

Shafiq Nedala a GIS expert informed the audience about the urgency of data infrastructure policy saying it will help to regulate and curb those who would want to hack the data. 

The experts made remarks during celebrations of GIS Day at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala on Friday. 

Rita Ajidru the GIS officer at National Planning Authority informed participants that draft policy is being scrutinised by cabinet waiting for its approval. 

She said once adopted the policy would address gaps of data duplication by different ministries, departments and agencies as well as solving the problem of agencies not wanting to share data. 

"There is a lot of resistance by ministries, departments and agencies to release data to other entities/bodies, people don't want to release it," Ajidru told participants.

At the moment agencies like security, Uganda National Bureau of Statistics collect separate data on security and population respectively noting that each one wants to remain in control of its data. 

The acting executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority, Eng. Andrew Kitaka informed the audience about the importance of GIS. 

He said it is smart technology that is used to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and present all types of geographical data to guide service delivery and decision making. 

So far, he said the authority has made significant strides in transforming the city through smart technology. 

For example, it has been used to identify floods hot spots, naming of the roads and numbering of buildings, solid waste collection among others.

 

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