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“The success of NSDI lies in new and innovative applications’’
What is the vision of Bakosurtanal?
Our vision is to create reliable spatial data infrastructure as a base for providing information on natural resources and environment for national development.
The mission of Bakosurtanal is
1. To formulate macro planning and national policies in surveys and mapping , and to strengthen the coordination of national surveys and mapping activities to fulfil the need for topographic base maps up to medium scale and to fulfil the need for national thematic base maps in supporting the national development.
2. To build National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), which covers elements of institution, regulation standard, spatial fundamental data, human resources, research and technology of surveys and environment for national development.
What are the main activities of Bakosurtanal?
BAKOSURTANAL has duty to conduct govemmental duties in the field of surveys and mapping according to prevailing regulation. Our main activities include:
1. to assess and create national policies is surveys and Mapping ;
2. to develop national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) ;
3. to coordinate functional activities in conducting Bakosurtanal task ;
4. to monitor, guide and maintain activities of government institutions in the field of national surveys and mapping ;
5. to organize, develop and serve in the field of general planning, management, organization, personnel, financial, archive, regulation, code, and internal affair.
What is the status of NSDI?
In July 2007, establishment of NSDI was institutionalized by a presidential decree.
The NSDI will benefit all the sectors as it would provide spatial data not only of central Government and provincial governments but also up to local government level. The data will be available on the net for the government and private sectors both. The time frame we see for it is ten years. Ten years is a reasonable time frame as to get information from some of the provinces will not be that easy. The NSDI initiative of Indonesia is financed by a loan from the Japan bank for International cooperation (JBIC).
We must understand that it is a beginning only, not the end. The success of NSDI lies in building new and innovative applications.
Indonesia is often hit by various disasters. Any role Bakosurtanal?
We have Early Tsunami Warning System in place. It is supported by the German Governments as well as USA. The Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics, Bakosurtanal and Minister of Research and Technology and other sectors are working together on the Indonesia side. We play a key role as we provide the spatial information, geodetic network and also sea level observation. Unlike the earlier days when it was difficult to get the information of a disaster even for months, now with the help of new technologies the information move fast. Hence, our response to disaster has been more adequate. Although, we still cannot predict the disasters, but we can reduce the risks. This is carried out by giving priority to disaster prone area to be covered by adequate respective geospatial data. We can use the most current information available from satellite imageries and aerial photographs as well as database on hospital, school, infrastructure, population, etc, to help in proper assistance distribution.
The benefits of geomatics in disaster management cannot be simply quantified in economic terms as ultimately it helps to not only save human lives but also to sustain the economy as well.
What is the status of Geomatics in Indonesia?
GIS is being used in many department of government. In private sector, the uses depend on the level awareness and also on the affordability of the software and in turn profit possibilities on the investment made. There are vendors who are providing services.
What are the challenges?
Knowledge. That’s the only challenge. We need to make aware people about the knowledge and the potential of such technologies in various segments of development. We have centre for training for geomatics and we provide training to professionals of many government organisations. There are universities and professional associations who also provide training. I feel that GIS has progressed well in Indonesia but much more is desired. We have to move to new application areas rather focusing only on traditional applications of the technology.
What about pricing of software?
If you buy expensive software and you sell your services at high process then there is no problem. But if that not happens then it is a problem. I think the prices of software will remain high due to intellectual and financial investments involved. There are issues of rights and licenses also. I doubt if we can get completely free software. But in addition to the proprietary software we also join the national campaign on “Indonesia Goes Open software”. We want to have dynamic software production house based on open software especially for day to day application to support the decision maker at various level of government.
Do you think that National Mapping Agencies are getting marginalized with the advent of Google Earth?
Not at all. Such issues were raised when aerial photography arrived. It was claimed that we would be out of the business but nothing happened like that. The power of Google may be of engine for the source of finding but the majority of authorized content will be provided by the organisations like ours.