GIS Day 2015 celebration at the University of Calabar, Cross-River State.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) day 2015 celebration held at the University of Calabar provided an avenue for the community to learn about GIS and its varied applications. It was organized and hosted by the Department of Geography and Environmental Science with support of Geospatial Links Company and a team of other sponsors, on the 18th of November in the PGDM Lecture Room and had in attendance over 500 participants comprising GIS professionals, Staff from government Ministries and Agencies, the Nigeria Police Force, Non-Governmental Organizations, Staff and both postgraduate and undergraduate Students from Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), University of Uyo, University of Calabar and the College of Education.

Highlights of the event included paper presentations by three keynote speakers. The first by Dr. Inah Okon, a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science was on the “Uses, Application and prospects of GIS in Nigeria.” He exposed participants on the varied applications of GIS in Health, Utilities management, National Intelligence and Defense, Transportation and a host of other areas. He further spoke on the challenges facing the GIS industry in Nigeria, chief amongst them being the unavailability of accurate geospatial data and the unwillingness to share data especially by government agencies.

The second was by the Surveyor-General of Cross River State, Surv. Eyo Oku on the topic “GIS as decision support system in Nigeria”, noting that GIS is an excellent tool for making informed decisions in various industries, significantly saving cost and increasing turnover sighting examples from his days at Shell British Petroleum.
The last presentation by the Director General, Cross River Geographic Information Agency (CRGIA), Dr. Clement Oshaka on “GIS Application in Land Administration in Cross River State” explored in detail the role GIS has played in effectively administering land in the state. “…since manual processes were no longer viable options in accurate, efficient and effective land administration…” he continued, “the state government went ahead and initiated a robust Land Information Management System as far back as the year 2000 with an Orthophoto map covering the entire state”. This move he says clearly showed “logic, planning and honest intellectual analysis”on the state government’s part in her drive to develop a viable and efficient automated land information system in the state.

This drive, Dr. Oshaka explained, now makes it possible for Certificates of Occupancy and other land ownership instruments to be processed and issued to successful applicants within 21 working days, as against the practice in the past that took years to complete. He revealed that the Cross River Geographic Information Agency, CRGIA, over a period of one year, increased the annual internally generated revenue of the state through land transactions from N300 million to N1.8 billion.

Participants were then thrilled with a brief technical session where there was practical demonstration of Network and Topographic Analyses using ESRI’s ArcGIS and Global Mapper respectively by Njoku, Chukwudi Gbadebo.
Highpoint of the occasion was the mapping contest were students produced and submitted maps for the prize of $50 (N10,000). After vetting by the committee, Edidiong Seyene Umoh, an undergraduate student of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Uyo emerged the winner. There was presentation of awards to CRGIA , Office of the Surveyor-General, Cross River State (OSG-CRS), Kimberly Mensah, Sambus Geospatial Limited, Geospatial Links Company, Wildlife Conservation Society Nigeria and Arc. Tonye Ojoko, as GIS Ambassadors for their efforts in promoting the growth of GIS and supporting the event. Participants also received certificates of attendance.

 

Story by: Nse-Abasi Ayara.

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