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GIS Technology Assists Jamaica National (JN) Members in Florida

FT. LAUDERDALE – Jamaicans residing in Florida, the United States of America, and other countries, are now benefitting from the use of Geographical Information System (GIS) technology, to assist them in making real estate and property development decisions in their home country, Jamaica.

Janice McIntosh, Chief Representative Officer, at the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Florida Office said that services such as iMap Jamaica, offered by the National Land Agency (NLA) provides “a first step for persons who may be unaware that the land they owned is not in their name or may be untitled.”

Janice McIntosh, Chief Representative Officer, JNBS Florida Office

Mrs. McIntosh explained that there were “Jamaicans living in the Florida, other parts of the USA, and around the world that left Jamaica a long time ago, and are still owners of untitled property which they believed was no longer available to them.”

iMap Jamaica, which was launched in September 2010 by the NLA, consists of a network of 13 Global Positioning System (GPS) stations, strategically located across the island.

The internet-based system provides land boundary information, which anyone can surf from anywhere in the world via the NLA website, said Lori-Ann Thompson, Manager of Business Development at the NLA.

She noted that iMap Jamaica was used on average “by more than 10,000 persons monthly, with a proportion of users emanating from the Jamaican Diaspora.”

“The iMap service gives persons remote access to property locations; therefore, if they have any information about the land, such as name of the district, folio and volume numbers, they are able to pull up via the web, information relating to the property,” Mrs. Thompson explained further.

Lori-Ann Thompson, Manager of Business Development at the National Land Agency making a presentation on the iMap Jamaica at a Mortgage Meeting organized by the JNBS Florida Office in Orlando, Florida earlier this year.

Mrs. McIntosh said that during a series of ongoing meetings held by the Jamaica National Representative Office in Florida, more than 500 Jamaicans who were in attendance were introduced to iMap Jamaica through presentations by NLA representatives.

Mrs. McIntosh emphasized that for many of the persons, the information available through the iMap Jamaica presentation rekindled their interest in properties which they or their families own in Jamaica.

“It has renewed interest in properties in Jamaica; and has propelled some persons to seek more information about getting their properties titled,” she stated, “And, it has also opened the door for Jamaica National to work with these persons, as they take further steps to develop their properties.”

While JNBS does not use land to obtain home equity, Mrs. McIntosh indicated that the Society provides construction loans to those persons who planned to build on their own land.

“A Title is a basic requirement for all mortgage products offered by the building society; and once the applicant is able to prove a Title exists, Jamaica National can provide a mortgage to meet their individual needs,” Mrs. McIntosh pointed out.

The JN Florida Representative Office provides its clients with a wide range of mortgage services; and is prepared to guide members through their entire mortgage application until it is submitted to Jamaica for final approval and disbursement, she indicated.

Anyone can access iMap Jamaica by visiting the National Land Agency’s website at www.nla.gov.jm

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