Many completed research projects and innovative applications developed at the Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (RSGIS) Laboratory of the University of Ghana to address development challenges in key sectors of the economy are lying idle due to neglect by state institutions.
The Administrator of the RSGIS Laboratory of the Geography Department of the university, Dr Alex Barimah Owusu, told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that the situation had taken a negative toll on further research work.
In an interview on the sidelines of GIS Day held at the university, Dr Owusu said “over the years, we have done a lot of cutting edge research and developed innovative applications in geographic information systems but they are all lying fallow.
The day was intended to showcase the wealth of technology solutions to development challenges that had been developed.
“For instance, we have developed seven applications for crime mapping, community profiling, modus operandi analysis to track crimes, traffic density and visibility, hazard reporting, and disaster management; but all of these have not been put to use by state institutions,” Dr Owusu said.
The GIS Day is marked annually on the third Wednesday of November across the globe to bring together researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss how to make the best use of GIS innovations to address issues in society.
Expressing concerns about the situation, Dr Owusu said although the GIS had collaborated with a number of state institutions to make use of the research and applications, the response was not encouraging.
“We have collaborations with the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana
National Fire Service (GNFS), the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and even the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
“It is quite disappointing that the research and innovations that could help improve on service delivery in key state institutions have not been utilised in spite of the fact that we spent a lot of money, time, and energy to develop them,” he said.
He called on the government to support the RSGIS Laboratory to expand its capacity to train more professionals.
Speaking at an event to show case the achievements of GIS to mark the day, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, commended the GIS Laboratory for training professionals in remote sensing over the years.
“These professionals will play a critical role for a successful and cost-effective land administration and service delivery in the country.
Given the significant role of GIS in effective and efficient land administration and the current steps being taken under the Land Administration Project (LAP II), the government is focusing on the training of more professionals in modern trends in using GIS technology tailored to address the land administration challenges,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources would strengthen collaborations with the RSGIS Laboratory at the University of Ghana to deploy the most appropriate technology to address the land administration challenges.