Lagos flags-off digital mapping, geographical info system

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FOR Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, the state should score many firsts before 2011 when his tenure expires.

Besides a good number of roads networks, rehabilitation of others, bridges and drainage systems, Lagos should be digitally mapped and provide geographical information systems to create ready access to every part of the state.

It sounds novel in this part of the world, but Fashola thinks it is a way of life elsewhere.

Recently, when he hosted the 2nd stakeholders forum in Alausa, Ikeja, Fashola said that his plan was to truly make Lagos a mega city and the geographical information system (GIS) and digital mapping would make this possible.

Land is an instrument of prosperity if properly managed, Fashola explained saying “we are on the right track as the digital mapping is 75 per cent ready.”

Digital mapping and GIS will enhance coverage of the entire landscape of Lagos, Fashola added.

Digital mapping is the process by which a collection of street data from a location is compiled and formatted into a virtual image. The primary function of this technology is to produce maps that give accurate representations of a particular area, detailing major road arteries and other points of interest that would be invaluable to a user mapping the distance from one place to another. Though digital mapping can be found in a variety of computer applications, such as Google Earth, the main use of these maps is with the Global Positioning System, or GPS satellite network, used in standard automotive navigation systems.

The roots of digital mapping lie within traditional paper maps such as the Thomas Guide. Paper maps provide basic landscapes similar to digitised road maps, yet are often cumbersome, cover only a designated area, and lack many specific details such as roadblocks. In addition, there is no way to “update” a paper map except to obtain a new version. On the other hand, digital maps, in many cases, can be updated through synchronisation with updates from company servers.

Early digital maps had the same basic functionality as paper maps-that is, they provided a “virtual view” of roads generally outlined by the terrain encompassing the surrounding area. However, as digital maps have grown with the expansion of GPS. technology in the past decade, live traffic updates points of interest and service locations have been added to enhance digital maps to be more “user conscious”.

Traditional “virtual views” are now only part of digital mapping. In many cases, users can choose between virtual maps, satellite (aerial views), and hybrid (a combination of virtual map and aerial views) views. With the ability to update and expand digital mapping devices, newly constructed roads and places can be added to appear on maps.

Digital maps heavily rely upon a vast amount of data collected over time. Most of the information that comprises digital maps is the culmination of satellite imagery as well as street level information. Maps must be updated frequently to provide users with the most accurate reflection of a location. While there is a wide spectrum on companies that specialise in digital mapping, the basic premise is that digital maps will accurately portray roads, as they actually appear to give “life-like experiences.”

Fashola noted that the essence was to impact positively on members of the society as well as provide basic amenities, especially power in the state.