U.S. Cartography Commission Projects
Central American Data Integration and Technical Capacity Building Workshop
Taller para la integración de Datos Geoespaciales de Centroamérica
→ Produced by Jean Parcher
In Central America, the National Geography Institutes are at a turning point to modernize their mapping programs. Many of the National Geography Institutes support their Ministry of Public Works with cartographic map products, yet with the large number of weather related natural disasters in the region, there is a great need to develop environmental datasets and to maintain a seamless geospatial data for disaster planning and environmental monitoring. The small size of the region on a global scale and the number of environmental issues and natural disasters, make it imperative to have regional mapping coordination and available geographic information for various uses. Monitoring environmental change on a global or regional scale requires cooperation between nations. To make this cooperation effective, nations need to share and make compatible environmental, geographic, and demographic data at a level that promotes collaboration but does not compromise national security.
Many of the Central American National Geography Institutes have completed their Global Map datasets and are considering applying the Global Map standards and data content to higher resolution data for their countries. Therefore the next logical step for Central America is to coordinate data integration across country boundaries, build regional applications, and develop higher resolution datasets at the 1:250,000-scale and 1:50,000-scale. Participatory regional coordination of mapping activities is essential to ensure long term data compatibility throughout the region and relationship building between technical specialists is a crucial step towards successful data sharing across international boundaries during a natural disaster or an emergency.
To date, three participatory workshops have been conducted in Central America. In 2009, the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH) awarded the initial funding for the first workshop, which was held in Costa Rica in August of 2011 For the second workshop held in El Salvador in December of 2011, additional funding was solicited from the Cooperacion Fomento Andino and ESRI. For each of the workshops, representatives from each Central American country, Mexico, and the United States collaborated in harmonizing and integrating their digital mapping data for the region at the 1:250,000-scale or better. In all the workshops were funded through the technical project funding of the Pan American Institute of Geography and History, the Cooperacion Formento Andino, ESRI, and in kind funding from the USGS, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia (INEGI), Costa Rica’s Instituto Nacional de Geografia, El Salvador’s Instituto Geográfico y Catastro Nacional - Centro Nacional de Registros, and Panama’s Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Tommy Guardia". Participants were chosen from each of the National Geography Institutes with requirements for each participant to have expertise in the manipulation of digital geographic information, indepth knowledge of their National Geography Institute’s digital cartographic data at 1:250,000-scale, and authority to make modifications to the data.
The workshops were led by Jean Parcher and Robert Lugo of the USGS. The goals of the workshops were to foster collaboration between Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists and environmental scientists within Central America, devise a working plan to harmonize the datasets, produce a final map product for viewing on the GeoSUR GIS Portal, and provide hands on capacity training for new data products to the member nations.
Annual Reports of the United States Cartography Commission