Moores community gets creative on GIS day
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
The grounds of the old police station in May Pen, Clarendon, were abuzz with activities as Clarendonians showed off cleverly designed maps of their communities at the Social Development Commission's (SDC) Geographic Information Systems Day (GIS).
The maps highlighted details of the communities in a condensed format.
The day was also about highlighting the work being done by the commission and the significant progress made in demographic, social, economic, spatial, governance and institutional information available to citizens and stakeholders.
Last Friday, all those who turned out had access to community profiles, community priority plans, maps and listings, shape files and other data that were on display.
In her address, Juanita Reid, SDC deputy executive director, researching and planning, noted that the commission has been uniquely positioned to provide much-needed data at the community level as it is the only agency that collects, analyses and houses the depth of information required to give a detailed picture of communities' resources, challenges and needs.
She also informed on the benefits of both the GIS and CRDP (Community Research and Database Planning).
"The SDC built a geo-database through the collection of data on all assets and other elements unique to each community. This information was integrated into GIS, allowing SDC to highlight the situation in disparate areas throughout the island and visually present these socio-economic situations and manifestations on a map allowing for comparison and analysis," she shared.
She stressed that the data make it easier for comparisons to be made across communities and to facilitate trend analysis, programme and policy design as well as alternative/community development planning.
Reid also urged her SDC staff to be prepared in teaching community leaders to not only collect, but to analyse the data as it will be useful in community development and planning.
"When community members are armed with data, they have the power in their hands to inform how decisions are made in their communities, and so they can advocate for service and quality improvement in the services that they receive," she pointed out.
Last Friday also saw the judging of the GIS maps on exhibition with Moores community copping the first prize for the best-designed one earning $80,000; Portland Cottage came in second and earned $60,000, and Salt River took the final spot, receiving $40,000. The cash incentive was sponsored by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.