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Use Technology to Fight Crime – Build on Government Investment in GIS…says Aubyn Hill

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Corporate Strategies, Aubyn Hill, has urged more security firms and businesses to use Geographic Information Systems and related technologies such as Global Positioning Systems to fight crime saying, “Geographic Information Systems can be used more extensively to help counteract criminals and killers and in the process reduce the incidence of crime.”

Mr. Hill was addressing the GIS Executive Forum 2008, held under the theme, “GIS Driving Response-Ability”, that was organised by the Land Information Council of Jamaica (LICJ) and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Kingston last week. He noted that the Government had the foresight to invest in GIS infrastructure but it was a far way from being fully exploited for the benefit of consumers.

Aubyn Hill

“The GIS programme is a real investment in development and one which the private sector could not be expected to initiate or underwrite. By getting GIS established in Jamaica, the GOJ has given a platform to private-sector companies, our universities, entrepreneurs and individuals which they can use as layers of geospatial data and information to existing relationship data in diverse locations.”, Mr. Hill said.

Mr. Hill noted that there is a role for the private sector to exploit the foundation laid. “Others must follow quickly for Jamaica to really benefit from this technology and the investment. Senior management must take the lead on this one and directors must become enthusiastic supporters..The GIS has come of age. It is a technology that can really help developing countries like Jamaica. The Government of Jamaica has invested in and has provided the GIS platform. Some in academia are putting it to good use. Those of us who are in business and influence leaders must step forward and take the lead, to make GIS the tool that can raise, significantly, our business success,” Mr. Hill said.

To date, GIS is extensively being used by Government organisations. Practical applications are being used by the National Works Agency in the cost effective design of road repair and river training; to monitor Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses on routes and on schedule; and by the Ministry of Health, to spot and put in place measures to contain disease outbreaks.

Private sector companies which are using the national investment in geospatial data include Globe Insurance, which has led that sector by introducing GIS as a part of risk assessment and informing the calculation of premiums and negotiating reinsurance. Jamaica National Building Society integrates GIS into its micro financing programme to make management strategic decisions, including locating offices that are convenient for customers. Guardsman Security offers vehicle tracking services for clients – a first step towards enhanced security services, based on the information that GIS can provide.

The LICJ has championed the sharing of geo referenced data for the use of Government agencies, utility companies and the private sector and through the joint purchase of digital base maps, allowed for integration of that data using GIS for multiple purposes in decision making. For leadership in this area, and more, in September they received the inaugural Caribbean Spatial Vision Award, for extraordinary achievement in GIS in the Caribbean.

GIS Day, November 19, falls during Geography Week (November 16-21). Other activities will be a Church Service at Holy Cross on November 16, a day of activities for the public and schools at the UWI Assembly Hall in Kingston, on November 19 and GIS Open House sessions hosted by members of the LICJ. (JIS)

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