Friday, July 22, 2011

Guyana's First GIS User Group

I'm happy to announce that a GIS User Group has been formed in Guyana. This group consists of technicians, users and administrators of geo-databases of government agencies and private companies. The University of Guyana is also included among the participants, but unfortunately were unavailable for this first meeting.

The group will be meeting on the second Wednesday of every month to discuss various topics of direct relevance for the advancement of GIS in Guyana. All interested GIS users are free to join. The meeting will take place during lunch hour (12 - 1pm) in an informal setting. To ensure participation, a 15 minute presentation will be made by volunteers within the group at each meeting.

The first meeting consisted of a presentation from GGMC (mining commission) showing the implementation and testing of ArcServer for its mineral property holdings. This was followed by a similar presentation by GeoTechVision Enterprises Limited of work done for the Works Services Group using ArcServer.

This was followed by a healthy discussion to determine which coordinate system should be used when storing GIS data for Guyana. Our basemaps, from which most regional data has been derived, are projected in the PSAD 1956 UTM system. The challenge here is that Guyana straddles 2 zones (Z20 and 21). This can be addressed by storing data in a geographical coordinate system (GCS) and allow for on the fly re-projection, but at the same time have one dataset. But is this advisable, and if so would it make sense to use the WGS 84 GCsystem, since data collected are often from a GPS or GPS-based application.

So the questions are: are we prepared to work with more than one dataset in the current system, or should we use a GCS? If the latter is advisable, which system would be best for storing the data?

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