Experts decry lack of national geospatial data infrastructure, policy
Absence of national geospatial data Infrastructure (NGDI) and policy framework have been described as the bane of surveying practice and therefore inhibiting growth in the country.
The alarm was raised by experts at the 33rd annual general meeting and luncheon organised by the Lagos state branch of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, (NIS) with the theme: “ Contemporary Geospatial Technology: A Decision Support For Proactive Safety and Security Management”.
The experts said nation’s self-esteem is gradually being eroded daily as the absence of basic adoption of geospatial intelligence in combating crime and terrorism is becoming so obvious. Expounding the theme, the guest speaker and chairman Presidential Technical Committee on Land, Prof Peter Adeniyi noted the weak institutional arrangement for surveying and mapping in the country.
He stressed that the organisation of surveying and mapping in the Surveyor-Generals Offices in Nigeria do not have what it takes to meet the demand of geospatial data required for the development of the country as well as provide a platform for dealing with safety and security.
Geospatial information technology, he said, can provide security operatives and decision-makers with data needed to confidently confront a wide variety of threats.
Prof Adeniyi stressed the need for geospatial data in national security in order to get timely, accurate information easily accessed and capable of being shared across Federal, State, and Local spatial-administrative platforms -fundamental to the decision-making and response strategy.
He said: “lack of relevant and up-to-date data on all components of natural resources and the environment and the persistent accumulation of disparate data which are inconsistently named, improperly documented, highly fragmented in different locations, very low in integrity, not organised, and cannot be electronically processed or distributed, and generally are unreliable, incomplete and very difficult to identify, access, use and maintain.
“The main reason is over-centralisation of all functions in the offices of Surveyor-General of the Federation and State Surveyor-Generals”, he added. Prof. Adeniyi expressed hope that the government will build necessary relationship for exchange of ideas between Nigerian security outfits, adequately skilled local geospatial practitioners and other nations with an edge in resolving and mitigating the issues that deters geospatial intelligence.
These, he said, can lead the nation to the level of a sustainable development, particularly in the area of safety and security.In his remarks, the chairman of the Lagos branch of the Institution, Adesina Adeleke expressed worries over government treatment of surveyors.
He blamed the incessant pipeline explosions in major cities on government inability to allow surveyors handle survey content of engineering projects in the country.
Adeleke said, if survey of the pipelines were done, government could easily detect any failure any time, which will lead to repairs of the affected ruptures.He urged government as a matter of urgency separate the surveying content of all infrastructural projects and allow surveyors to do their works to avert the ugly reoccurrence in the country.
According to him, government should allow survey content of engineering project to be given to surveyors. “Let the survey content be separated from other contents and given to surveyors like the roads, pipelines and railway projects”.He tasked the government to do the needful by according surveyors their rightful place in the scheme of things.He said” in the case of the Abule Egba fire incidence and other pipeline projects across the country, surveyors were not involved to handle the survey content of the engineering project and that is the challenge we have as professionals with the government.
“To avert similar reoccurrence and wanton loss of lives as a result of pipeline explosions in the country, government should allow surveyors to do surveys of all infrastructural projects in the country”, he added. Also, the chairman of Lagos State House committee on public accounts, Moshood Oshun said surveyors must be accorded their rightful place in the issue of land.