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Enhancing Latin American GIS&T Capacity

The AAG was involved in an exciting technical cooperation project to explore the need for, and feasibility of, a Geographic Information Science and Technology Innovation Center for Latin America and the Caribbean.


GIScience and Technology (GIS&T) offers tremendous opportunities for improving social and economic development. GIS&T capacity and cyberinfrastructure can contribute to more effective planning and operations in sectors as diverse as transportation, city planning, natural resource management, tourism, water and sanitation, energy, agricultural and rural productivity, and health.

Countries in the Latin America and Caribbean region have not been able to fully take advantage of such technology and innovation due to factors such as weak R&D capabilities, slow technology transfer, and uncoordinated workforce development efforts.

In recognition of this need and opportunity, between 2006 and 2012 the AAG was involved in a program to enhance GIS&T capacity and cyberinfrastructure within the Latin America and Caribbean region in order to improve social and economic development.

Consultations and feasbility study

The AAG worked with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), particularly the Knowledge Partnership Korea Fund (KPK), and the National Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation in Panama (SENACYT), to explore the feasibility of a Geographic Information Science and Technology Innovation Center.

Consultations meetings were held in Panama in December 2010 and June 2011 drawing together representatives of universities, government agencies, research centers, mapping agencies, the Panama Canal Authority, international geography organizations, and others from Panama, Latin America, the U.S. and Korea.

The first meeting explored the current provision and gaps in Panama in the field of geospatial science and technology, and there was consensus on the need for a Center to enhance Latin American GIS&T capacity for innovation and economic development. Read a summary, look at the presentations, and see photos of the meeting.

The second meeting was entitled Congress on Geographic Information Systems as a Platform for Modernizing the State. The AAG facilitated the participation of international experts to showcase the utilization of geography and GIS for public services and government modernization under the key themes of Governance, Health, Education, and Security. See the meeting agenda and see a photo of participants.

Read the final report presented to SENACYT in 2011 assessing the feasibility of the Center.