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Nov 18, 2015

4th Annual GIS Expo Hosted in Belize

Across the globe, today is celebrated as World GIS Day and in Belize, following a symposium at the University of Belize last Friday; Total Business Solutions Limited hosted the fourth annual Geographic Information System Expo. If are not techy, GIS stands for Geographic Information System; which is the go-to technology for making informed decisions about mapping. Essentially, the system allows users to better understand data in many ways that reveal patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.  Duane Moody was there and has this story.


Duane Moody, Reporting

At the King’s Room of the Ramada Belize City Princess, hundreds of students gathered for the fourth annual expo on Geographic Information System. So what is GIS and how does it apply to everyday usage? Well the initiative is the brainchild of Total Business Solutions Limited which is supported by the United Nations Development Program. TBSL Managing Director, Loretta Palacio explains:


Loretta Palacio

Loretta Palacio, Managing Director, TBSL

“Geospatial technology includes three things: GIS, the data; we have GPS, global positioning system–everybody know about GPS…wi phones dehn got GPS, we hear it a lot; and remote sensing. You might not be used to this term, but it is about time that we learn them. Remote sensing, satellite imagery – you use it in your news. I shared this morning that the world is celebrating World GIS Day today and I shared the maps around the world—Europe, North America, South America—and we counted probably close to a thousand around the world and we went into the map and zoomed in to Belize and we had two because UB also hosted a symposium last week Friday. And so we are here because we want to enhance the education system.”


For several years now, primary and secondary school students have been participating in the “My Virtual City Competition.” It challenges them to create futuristic models of cities within the country. And now, GIS technology is being applied within the classrooms.


Adriana Coleman

Adriana Coleman, Belize Elementary School

“It is extremely important for us as educators to be part of the World GIS Day and to integrate GIS technology into our classrooms. It is the way of the future. It is not just a website, it is not just a map; it is actually the creation of future jobs in our country. There are so many ways that we can use the technology—not only to teach our children, but for them to be able to get jobs in the GIS sector and to help to build our communities.”


GIS around the world is used for national development, but today, the technology is being used for education purposes and along with the Ministry of Education, TBSL launched the GIS Education Portal. But there are many sectors in which the GIS technology is used. And at the expo were several private and public sector organizations, which use the technology, displaying and making presentations on how the technology has improved their capabilities and services.


Loretta Palacio

“Looking at GIS, we are talking STEM all the time—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We have business people who need to solve problems; you see them here today. You see B.E.L. here today, you see B.T.L.; you have the Police Department here, we also have Amandala and several other exhibitors. We are here to tell our students and our educators that there is something that is missing. We saw the world focusing on it today; now Belize is now joining in so that teachers, educators and parents can say oh there is another way that my child can learn about Belize. You are doing soil analysis in science, you are doing physics; you can use the GIS platform. We live in a physical world so we have to do analysis of people, analysis of agriculture, analysis of patterns, of relationships, of data.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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