Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) will be set up as information and data needed to build a beautiful country with a well-thought-out plan is absent in Bangladesh.
"And keeping that in mind, it's urgently needed to establish a National Spatial Data Infrastructure in our country," she said.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating a two-day international seminar, 'National Spatial Data Infrastructure for Bangladesh', jointly organised by the Survey of Bangladesh and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at Hotel Sonargaon in the capital.
She also directed the Ministry of Defence to formulate a law and a policy to this end to check the misuse of data and information to be preserved in the NSDI.
Sheikh Hasina also announced to form a national committee, led by the Defence Ministry, to lay out the guidelines and formulate short- and long-term plan, work out an action strategy and provide necessary assistance to develop the NSDI and preserve all geospatial data in the same platform of geoportal.
About 150 expert participants, including government officials, representatives of autonomous and non-government organisations in the related fields from countries like Japan, Indonesia, India, Singapore and Bangladesh are participating in the seminar.
The Prime Minister said her government will soon form the NSDI to exchange information and data easily among government, autonomous and on-government institutions to ensure desired development through proper planning.
She said the national committee provide necessary guidelines to form the NSDI and formulate a law regarding security of data and information, while the Survey of Bangladesh as the National Map Making Institute will work as its secretariat.
Once the NSDI is formed, various research organisations as well as teachers and students of various public and private educational institutions like schools, colleges and universities could be connected with geospatial information flow without any interruption, she added.
The Prime Minister said various government and private organisations now separately prepare, use and preserve information and data of the surface earth.
She stressed the need for bringing all such organisations under the same umbrella through following the policy on preservation of data and information to ensure sustainable development removing their duplication as well as easing exchange of up-to-date data and information.
Besides, the use of data from the same domain will also help save money and time and thereby accelerate the country's development activities bringing in dynamism, she said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world, the Prime Minister observed that Bangladesh needs scientific data and information on lands to ensure the optimum use of available lands.
Though Bangladesh is a small country, she said, it could make a bridge between the east and the west with its very important geographical location alongside using the country's all the resources.
Sheikh Hasina said the country can now determine the geo-natural structure and character of land using the most modern technology.
As a result, she said, it will be easier to plan more effectively to select lands for developing industries and use lands for multifaceted agricultural purpose depending on varieties of crops.
Hasina said agricultural lands are lost in riverbed every year while lands are also surfaced up from the sea for which a way needs to be found out to make such lands useable.
The Prime Minister directed the Survey of Bangladesh to conduct a topographic survey activities of the new chars and islands surfaced across the
Referring to her government's initiative of setting up 100 special economic zones in the country, she said, the aim is to ensure planned development of the country and stop establishing industries here and there in an unplanned manner.
Hasina expressed satisfaction over the Survey of Bangladesh that extended cooperation towards the Foreign Ministry by making 48 maps of coastal areas, and said the Survey of Bangladesh has already completed the digital mappings of different scales aimed at building 'Digital Bangladesh'.
Besides, the SOB is also working to prepare digital maps of the entire country, including the Chittagong Hill Tracts, on a large scale, she added.
The Prime Minister mentioned that the SOB has already completed making 900 map-sheets out of 988 while works on preparing Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and Digital Terrain Model (DTM) are progressing to face floods, cyclones, tidal waves and other natural disasters.
Hasina requested the experts of this field and participating guests of the technical sessions from home and abroad to put forward well-thought-out suggestions and opinions in the light of their long experience.
Japanese Ambassador Masato Watanabe, Deputy Director General of the Geospatial Information Authority, Japan Masaki Murakami, Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative in Bangladesh Mikio Hataeda and Surveyor General of Bangladesh Brig General Md Abul Khair spoke at the programme.
Later, the Prime Minister inaugurated Digital Mapping Centre set up at Damalcoat of Dhaka through video conference from the programme