November 1, 2005 -- NASSAU, The Bahamas---The Bahamas National Geographic Information Systems (BNGIS) Centre’s Youth Club received a huge boost on Thursday, October 13, with the donation of $10,000 to the programme by the internationally-acclaimed firm, International Land Systems (ILS).
ILS, which is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A., was involved in both the pilot GIS Project in The Bahamas in 1999 that was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the re-activation process in 2003. It is headed by Peter Rabley, whose mother Margaret was an educator in The Bahamas at the Teacher’s Training College, the forerunner to the College of The Bahamas.
The company, which provides a full range of professional, consulting services to support land administration systems worldwide, has trained more than 100 Bahamian government officials in the use of GIS and LIS tools for integrated land management.
In addition to the Inter-American Development Bank, ILS has worked on projects funded by the World Bank, the European Union and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) in countries around the world and the region, including Jamaica and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Sen. the Hon. James Smith said the partnership between ILS and the Government in expanding the Geographic Information Systems programme in The Bahamas further underscores the continued and increasing partnerships between the private sector and the Government in helping to further develop The Bahamas, particularly in the area of technology.
“One component of the programme is, in fact, the expansion of e-government, while a sub-component was a further enlargement of the Geographic Information System, and so what we have here is the Government/IDB partnership.
“We have the schools involved in a very real way and we are enlarging the use of technology in The Bahamas, not just for the school children, but for other members of the community and that should be coming on stream in the very near future,” Minister Smith said.
He said the funds donated by ILS will be used to further expand the GIS Clubs by equipping the eight schools in which GIS Clubs have been established, to enable them to be participants in the ongoing GIS Project.
Minister Smith said the GIS Youth Clubs allow students at participating schools to access GIS technology and use that technology to learn more about geography and geographic information systems; to strengthen their problem solving by using information contained in the GIS maps to find solutions to their questions; to acquire communication and team building skills and to expose students to modern technology for research and analysis purposes, while building a GIS community within the school system.
Mr. Rabley said the donation provided his company with an opportunity to continue his mother’s (Margaret) legacy of contributing to the educational development of the children and the people of The Bahamas, through youth building and the support of GIS and other related technology.
“My mother was heavily involved in training the future teachers of The Bahamas during her tenure as an educator at the Teacher’s Training College and so it’s a nice way for us to support and contribute towards education and the youth of The Bahamas,” Mr. Rabley said.
“Technology is a very important area in today’s world and we think this donation to the Youth Clubs will enable future generations of Bahamians to be able to compete in today’s global economy of which technology is clearly a very, very important part of that,” Mr. Rabley added.
Miss Carolann Albury, Director of the BNGIS centre, said the application of the GIS technology is only limited “by the imagination.” She said simply put, GIS technology is a computer desk-top mapping technology which allows users to easily and quickly display, analyze and manage geographic information.
“GIS can be used for land use planning where you need to gauge new growth or to build new communities; you can use GIS for utilities maintenance scheduling, for schools and education, planning new bus routes, disaster management, planning, preparedness and recovery and many, many other uses, and so this is one of the reasons we are excited to receive this kind of contribution from ILS to assist with our GIS Youth Clubs,” Miss Albury said.
She said the use of GIS technology will have a profound impact on not only the socio-economic development of countries in which the programme is being used, but on the educational development of their citizens.
International Land Systems, Inc: ILS is a multinational Information Technology company based in Silver Spring, MD and Kiev, Ukraine. ILS specializes in creating customized software and Internet solutions for geospatial and land-based applications, such as Land Information Systems (LIS), land records, deeds, registers, and title registration systems.