Friday, January 04, 2008

We will track you ... maybe

As mentioned in the SDI-LAC mailing list, the Jamaica Observer reports that Jamaica wants to track criminal offenders, but will not provide its digital maps to the private contractor they've hired to build the tracking system. "Absolutely not" is what the Ministry of National Security has said to the request for maps.

There may be more to the story than meets the eye, as the total price tag is some US$750,000, the contract was awarded by a previous government administration and the contractor is a Jamaican company, but headquartered in California; with a website registered less than two months ago (Nov 5, 2007) and obviously put up in a hurry (if the developer/owner reads this, the first link on the home page is broken and your pages don't have Titles - not a professional job at all). The company doesn't seem to have any particular expertise in GIS, just classic accounting/financial/networking, and no visible previous customers of their tracking system.

Whilst I'm encouraged by the effort to make wider use of GIS technology in Jamaica, this issue also raises the ghost of data-sharing past/ present ... and so far the future, of the Caribbean.

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