Geo-spatial data on 1:25,000 base maps covering 11,000 square kilometres in eight dzongkhags were handed over to the National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) on January 8.

The maps for eight southern dzongkhags were completed on November 30 last year. Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Kota Wakabayashi handed over the data to the land commission. In collaboration with JICA, NLCS began the project called JICA assisted project on development of national geospatial data in Bhutan in February 2015.

The project was initiated after it was found that the country’s base maps of 1:50,000 were produced during the 1960’s.

Director of Department of Survey and Mapping, Geley Norbu, said that for about 10 years, NLCS was engaged in the National Cadastral Resurvey Programme (NCRP) and production of the fundamental base maps were postponed.

“The new series of maps in southern part of the country would help reveal country’s landscape, available infrastructure and facilities, and would be utilised for spatially enabled planning and decision.”

He said that the products are expected to be essential in teaching and learning resource for education sector.

It could also be a valuable source of information for anyone to use regarding landscape, he said.

Project manager Tenzin Norbu said that a map could be considered geospatial. “Spatial data is anything that has relation to earth whereas geospatial has coordinates that could be identified by anyone in the world.”

Besides developing 1:25,000 digital topographical maps of 11,000 square kilometres, the technical cooperation project also helped develop capacity in NLCS.

The project would be used as a model by the centre for geographic information system coordination to prepare a National spatial Development Infrastructure (NSDI) framework.

JICA funded the project worth USD 5 Million.

JICA would also assist in the second phase of the project to produce base maps for other parts of the country.

Rinchen Zangmo