Technology to enhance country’s ability to solve challenges

04 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Technology to enhance country’s ability to solve challenges

The Sunday News

Judith PhiriBusiness Reporter 

THE Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) has made great strides in developing the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) that is expected to enhance the country’s ability to address a range of economic, social and environmental challenges. 

Launched in 2018, ZINGSA has the mandate to enhance the country’s capacity to harness space technologies and deploy it to map dysfunctional settlements for regularisation as well as yield estimates for winter and summer crops. 

It has also made it easier for the country to manage its natural resources and mitigate the effects of climate change. Responding to questions from Sunday News, ZINGSA chief operations officer (COO) Mr Painous Gweme said they have made great strides in developing their portfolio. 

 

“As you might be aware, the basis of an NDSI is spatial datasets with spatial fidelity and integrity. As such ZINGSA has been actively involved in data acquisition, quality controlling and building the geodatabase that houses these datasets. 

“So far, we have generated more than 10 layers covering socio-economic and bio-physical components. Specifically, we have generated spatial datasets for schools, clinics, rivers, dams, wetlands and farm cadaster among others. We are now moving to a stage where we intend to design and deploy a web-based platform that will be accessed online.”

He said the online platform, however, would be done in consultation with the various stakeholders who were either custodians or users of the datasets they were going to provide. 

Mr Gweme said the development of the NSDI includes the technology, policies, standards and human resources necessary to acquire, process, store, distribute and improve utilisation of geospatial data. 

“Through this initiative, it is expected that information sharing and collaboration between agencies and the private sector will be enhanced thereby promoting timely and cost-effective development of geospatial products. This is in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery through among other things, the development of an e-Government enterprise architecture, creation of data collection standard and its provision including a unified portal and universal access channels,” he added. 

In terms of ZINGSA involvement in several national projects, he said chief among them was the mapping of dysfunctional settlements in urban areas and some areas mapped include Caledonia, Harare South, Karoi (Chiedza Farm), Bulawayo (Cowdray Park), Mutare (Gimboki Farm) and Masvingo (Victoria Ranch). Mr Gweme said this was done with the aim of ensuring service provision and regularising of the settlements. 

“President Mnangagwa has started issuing title deeds in Epworth riding on the aerial mapping that we did together with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. We have also embarked on the densification of Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS). CORS will be used basically to provide Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) data, supporting three-dimensional positioning, meteorology, space weather and geophysical applications throughout Zimbabwe.”

President Mnangagwa

He said surveyors, geographic information system (GIS) users, engineers, scientists and other people who collect Global Positioning System (GPS) or GNSS data will be able to use CORS data, acquired at national geodetic control stations, to improve the precision of their positions and align their work within Zimbabwe’s National Spatial Reference System. 

Mr Gweme said ZINGSA together with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development they were working together to carry out yield estimation for winter and summer crops.

“Indeed, ZINGSA has been using a combination of remote sensing, mobile data collection tools and ground-based approaches to map cropland under winter wheat as well as estimate the yield.”

Mr Gweme said as part of their mandate, ZINGSA was supposed to promote the use of space and geospatial technology for the purposes of addressing societal needs such as sustainable natural resources management. He said ZINGSA was ensuring that satellite data and products are generated that speak to, for instance, drought monitoring, fire detection and wetlands mapping. 

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