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Nov 15, 2017

World Geographic Information System Day Expo Targets Schools

Young minds gathered today in Belize City at the start of an expo that showcases how the use of technology can result in efficiency. GIS, or Geographic Information System, is currently being utilized in various sectors to track and analyze performances; Total Business Solutions Limited wants to take GIS to the classrooms. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Belize’s sixth annual World Geographic Information System Day Expo was celebrated today by Total Business Solutions Limited at the Ramada Belize City Princess. Hundreds of students from across the country who attended the event were able to acquire a first-hand experience on how GIS, when adapted by different sectors, improves services offered by companies. The theme this year is “Transforming Education in Belize through GIS.”

 

Loretta Palacio

Loretta Palacio, Managing Director, TBSL

“Various organizations are hosting students, educators through talks, symposiums, fairs, visit to their offices to show how they are using it.  In Belize for TBSL, we chose to do it through an expo. Hosting students so that they are aware of this important technology that is being used as a platform for national development everywhere and Belize is no different. As you can see with our exhibitors here: Belize Electricity Limited, Belize Audubon Society, Ministry of Health, Adele Ramos, a journalist; we have Coastal Zone Management, we have statistical institute of Belize and Caye Caulker Ocean Academy High School. So students are learning about the role of GIS in their learning and in careers.”

 

On display were several practical uses of GIS and children were able to put their skills to the test courtesy of Fultec Systems’ computer-based setup. Meanwhile, Belize Electricity Limited fielded a booth where GIS Engineer Staffin Duncan and Technician Robert Hernandez showcased how they’ve been using GIS as a tool for the past five years. As they presented to a group of students, they shared how the effectiveness has improved services for customers and the company’s target to provide access to electricity to ninety-eight percent of the country by 2020.

 

Staffin Duncan

Staffin Duncan, GIS Engineer

“We are showing them how we locate our polls and our devices, our switches, our electrical network and take them through some of the technical things we do in between to get that information ready for our consumption.”

 

 

Robert Hernandez

Robert Hernandez, GIS Technician

“These are two of the main devices we use right now. These are the GPS tablets; these have integrated GPS receivers. We can also use a regular tablet like an I-Pad or Galaxy Tab, but that would normally be paired with this. This is a Bluetooth GPS receiver. So both of them basically do the same thing; they pick up satellite information and give you’re your location. Using the tablet, they could collect information on anything—poles, lines—which would then come back to us, we fix it up and then send it to the guys upstairs or we can even get to the point where we can even distribute to customers and we can say there is an outage happening in your area; this is the area.”

 

This year, the expo saw GIS mentors working along with the children. Ministry of Tourism Business Development and Investment Officer, Janelle Hemmans, says that she’s been able to demonstrate how the tourism industry has used geospatial technology.

 

Janelle Hemmans

Janelle Hemmans, GIS Mentor

“We’ve been tracking key performance indicators on the industry. So today our task was to present what we’ve done so we put the information on story maps and presented to the students today. We’ve been able to identify key indicators such as accommodations, tour operators and different attractions for the tourism industry.”

 

According to TBSL Managing Director, Loretta Palacio, GIS is being used to improve education outcomes and there is a commitment by the Ministry of Education to incorporating GIS in the curriculum.

 

Loretta Palacio

“We are happy to say that the Ministry of Education is on board. We met with C.E.O. Debbie Domingo and her team, Doctor Babb and Doctor Villanueva and they are serious now to look at how this can be incorporated in the curriculum. So we are happy to know that the sixth year, we are making real progress.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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