JICA-funded Mindanao topographic maps completed, up for validation

February 9, 2012 11:32 pm 

COTABATO CITY, Feb. 9 – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has completed digital maps of Mindanao and presented for validation by local government officials of the island.

The digital maps were presented during the “Topographic Mapping for Peace and Development in Mindanao” 2nd Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) meetings held recently all over the island.

JICA topographic map project team leader Yutaka Kokofu reported the successful production of new digital topo-maps covering all regions of Mindanao, copies of which were distributed to LGUs and line agencies for validation.

Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, Mindanao Development Authority chair, said recipients of the maps were asked to validate the names of barangays, rivers, lakes, mountains, and other data as these will be incorporated in the maps before finalization.

Antonino said MinDA expects the submission of the maps by end of February.

The meetings were held separately in Davao City, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro City, and Zamboanga City, attended by about 150 representatives from LGUs and line agencies such as National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Statistics Office (NSO), Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), contractors, and LGUS.

“The updated maps will give us accurate geographic information that can be used in management of disaster risks, as well as management and protection of the environment and its resources,” Antonino said.

The topographic mapping is a two-year JICA-funded project jointly undertaken by MinDA, JICA, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).

Antonino said it aims to update the existing over-60-year old reference maps of Mindanao and will be used as a technical support to the peace and development initiatives in Mindanao.

The mapping project covers a total area of 100,500 km covering the six regions of Mindanao, and seeks to produce 205 high resolution maps with a scale of 1:50,000.

Antonino said the new maps will contain information on the topography, rivers systems, vegetation and land cover, infrastructure and transportation network, populated areas, approximate administrative boundaries, annotation of geographic names including mountains, rivers, bays, municipalities, and barangays, among others.

According to Kokofu there are additional specifications included in the digital maps like bathymetric data which covers underwater depth of lakes and ocean floors covering 58,000 square kilometers.

Antonino added that the maps will be used for development planning on the island-region’s environment, security, peace and order, and economy. It will also aid in improving implementation of services to help uplift the socio-economic conditions of its people, especially those in critical areas.

“We cannot stress enough the importance of the data we can obtain through this project, especially now that we’ll be launching the Mindanao-wide river basin and watershed management program called MindaNOW – Nurturing Our Waters,” said Antonino.

MindaNOW is another program spearheaded by MinDA that aims to integrate, coordinate, and harmonize interregional efforts to protect and rehabilitate Mindanao’s river basins and watersheds, and adopt these as key platforms for planning.

Antonino said MinDA looks at the topo-map as an “indispensable tool” for the implementation of MindaNOW as well as its other programs on the economy and environment. (PNA)

LAP/NYP/EOF

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