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PIA Press Release

Topographic mapping project to replace 60-year-old maps of Mindanao

by Carina L. Cayon

Davao City (29 July) -- The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) launched on Tuesday at Marco Polo Hotel here a half billion peso-worth of topographic mapping project designed to replace the 60-year old maps of Mindanao.

MinDa Chair Jesus Dureza said the project dubbed as "Topographic Mapping for Peace and Development in Mindanao" is a two-year undertaking of the government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Philippine government represented by MinDa and NAMRIA.

Dureza said the project involves a grant aid of 1 billion yen or half a billion pesos from Japan that will fund the digitized updating of the 205 topographic maps at scale 1:50,000 covering the 26 provinces of Mindanao from the regions of Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Ernesto Tomas, Jr. of MinDa and a member of the project's technical coordinating committee, explained during the launching that the topographic mapping project is "in compliance with the development objectives of the Government Information System Plan (GISP), a blueprint prepared by the National Economic and Development Authority."

He said that the project intends "to harness the full potentials of information and communication technology (ICT) to ensure wider public access to government information and efficient delivery of the government services to the public."

Tomas stressed that topographic mapping is imperative in the formulation of Mindanao's development plan and an aid in decision making to accelerate socio economic and peace process development in Mindanao.

He said that the project also provides updated maps that will be used in hazard and disaster risk mitigation and environmental management.

"Let's make use of this new technology that will enable us to deliver services efficiently and effectively," Tomas urged the stakeholders.

Dr. Nilo Oponda of the research and instructions office of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, said the topographic mapping project is a big help and an important project for Mindanao.

He said that information that could be drawn from topographic mapping could be used in a lot of activities, particularly citing its advantage as reference for disaster assessment and mitigation.

He added that the project could determine high flood-prone areas.

Meanwhile, Dureza assured before an audience of about 150 representatives from the national government agencies that "we'll see to it that cultural sensitivity, security and cooperation will be tightened as we implement the project."

He said that consultations among stakeholders and concerned agencies will also be conducted.

In an information leaflet distributed to guests during the launching, it said that under the implementation agreement signed in January last year, JICA will implement the project specifically to "dispatch a project team and transfer technology to the Philippines."

It said on the other hand that MinDa and NAMRIA will "facilitate the project involvement of other government and non-governmental organizations."

It also informed that the "expected project outputs include reports, satellite images, orthoimage maps, ground control point coordinates, 1:50,000-scale digital topographic maps for printing, and 1:50,000-scale digital topographic data for GIS (geographic information system) applications."

The project is also said to employ methodology for mapping like analogue to digital conversion, acquisition of satellite imagery, ground control survey, ground truthing/field compilation, digital terrain modeling using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR), among others. (PIA-XI) [top]

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