The National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) received equipment from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to gather data for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, NSDI in Thimphu today. The National Spatial Data Infrastructure is a framework that aims to provide reliable and precise geospatial data or information such as the location of roads and mountains for anyone, anywhere. Bhutan and Japan signed a project to develop the framework in 2020.
According to the National Land Commission Secretariat, the technical cooperation project is building a geospatial portal where any government entity or other organisations can upload their data on lands, water and roads among others. The data will be accessible to the public. Moreover, people can access the accurate digital map of the country through the portal.
“The National Land Commission will be primarily using this equipment for the production of digital topographic maps through the use of drones. It has LIDAR capability. We can use it for the production of the precise digital elevation model. We can also share the equipment with any other agencies if they require and also we can provide the technical support to produce any kind of base mapping in any other areas,” says Samdrup Dorji, the Chief Survey Engineer of Geo-Informatics Division at the National Land Commission.
The project involves close to 40 stakeholders such as various ministries, autonomous agencies, corporations, and NGOs. Therefore, officials said, there is a need to improve coordination between the stakeholders.
Samdrup Dorji says, “Some of the major challenges that we face are the duplication of the data itself and agencies working in silos. So, we are not able to coordinate with each other. And also we do not have the proper sharing mechanism in order to facilitate the sharing of geospatial information.”
Moreover, according to the National Land Commission Secretariat, the National Spatial Data Infrastructure development project faces challenges such as a lack of budget and human resources.
As of now, the project which has two components namely the Development of the NSDI and Digital Topographic Map has completed around 60 per cent of the work.
The project started in 2021 and is supposed to end by 2025.