Mindanao topographic map updating project underway

February 8, 2010 1:11 am 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Feb. 7 — An updated, digitized map will soon replace the decades-old topographic map of Mindanao as key government agencies with funding and technical support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently forged partnership to implement the project dubbed as Topographic Mapping for Peace and Development in Mindanao, an official has disclosed.

Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) chairman Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana Sr. said the two-year project, to be jointly implemented by the National Mapping Resource Information Agency (NAMRIA), MEDCo and JICA, aims to update and convert Mindanao topographic maps into digital vector data for Graphic Information System (GIS) technology applications.

For decades now, government bodies and donor groups have been referring to the Mindanao map made in the late 1950s as basis for geographic data needed in carrying out their programs and projects.

Leyretana said the map is based from the aerial photographs taken from 1947 to 1953 which are published in the country under the old numbering system used by then Defense Mapping Agency (DMA), now called the National Geospatial-intelligence Agency of the United States.

Leyretana said NAMRIA is currently establishing the Philippine National Topographic Map Series (PNTMS), a new numbering system with coverage format of 15-by-15 per map sheet compliant to the Philippine Reference System of 1992.

This is the map series of updated topographic maps that will eventually replace the 50 to 60 year-old published maps in the country, according to Leyretana.

He said the revision of the original maps had been proposed for years but due to financial constraints, the updating of topographic maps in Mindanao has not been fully realized.

“It’s about time to update our decades-old topographic map which serves as an indispensable tool in development planning,” he said.

“The Mindanao map updating project bodes well with the ongoing formulation of the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan which is also an updated framework plan that shall guide peace and development efforts in the island-region for the next 10 years, he added.

Leyretana said the project would enhance effectiveness of future government projects and other development assistance by integrating geographic data with the available socio-economic and relevant indicators.

Leyretana said the project is also looking at establishing a common database in Mindanao that will facilitate the creation of a geographic data infrastructure accessible by the multi-sector stakeholders.

In this proposed system, he said a total of 205 topographic maps with a coverage format of 15-by-15 per map sheet will cover the entire Mindanao area. (PNA)

scs/Teofilo P. Garcia/rsm

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