Wednesday, November 5, 2008

GIS helps to solve real problems


GIS helps to solve real problems, says Minister

Without knowing it, the latest technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is almost daily making the lives of people and communities easier, says Pierre Uys, estern Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

Minister Uys opened a special Western Cape GIS Day of exciting interactivity for senior learners in Oudtshoorn on 31 October 2008. It was organised for the tenth annual celebration of the global GIS Day and the first one of its kind in the Klein Karoo area.

Minister Uys (right) with Lehan Fouche, the Deputy Director: Information Systems

Minister Uys says, "This important technology makes significant contributions and touches our daily lives without us being aware of it. It helps to solve problems related to the environment, health care, land use, business efficiency, education, general service delivery, public safety and planning."

"With it, one can plan to direct power supply to homes, assist emergency services, is essential in disaster management, use resources optimally and even run a huge election, like we will have next year."

"This extraordinary technology makes work easier for health workers, security agents, government employees like investigators, city planners, environmental impact administrators and people in nearly every profession. Analysts and developers use it extensively to make informed decisions, like where to locate automated teller machines more conveniently for banks, restaurants or even for farmers on how to use their land optimally with less chemicals", said Minister Uys.

GIS is an innovative information system, also displaying geographic feature and gathered information like location, streets, buildings, water features and terrain. It combines information from maps, photographs and computers to bring countless benefits to society. It is used widely by provincial and local government to co-operate in spatial planning and environmental control.

Learners and community leaders of the Klein Karoo could see GIS application in action at government level and the services it brings to people with live demonstrations, a map gallery and educational videos as well as presentations to showcase this phenomenal field of science.

Besides the celebrations, the learners could also consider GIS as a career opportunity. From next year GIS will be part of the matric curriculum.

The day was organised by the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. The theme was: "Exploring My Community Through GIS."

Internationally GIS Day is celebrated on 19 November each year. This event was held earlier out of consideration to learners preparing for the upcoming school examinations.

Enquiries: Cobus Grobler (media officer) 073 133 7299
Minister Uys 082 4555 144

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