Biruta logs in to Rwanda geoportal web site during the launch yesterday. (Theogene Nsengimana)

Biruta logs in to Rwanda geoportal web site during the launch yesterday. (Theogene Nsengimana)

The geoportal, www.geoportal.rnra.rw, was launched in Kigali on Tuesday.

It is expected to ease access to geographical data for both institutions and individuals, according to Dr Emmanuel Nkurunziza, the director-general of Rwanda Natural Resources Authority.

?At the national level, only RNRA is in charge of geographical information but every institution, including those in the fields of energy and transport, generate and store own data. But there was a need for a platform where everyone can access such data,? he said.

Dr Hussein Farah, the director-general of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development, said spatial data is crucial for everyone?s activities, hence the need for countries to have geodata portals.

?Geographical information is crucial for daily life. For instance, if you want to go to a certain place, you will first need to know where the place is located, available infrastructure such as health facilities, public buildings, and status of roads in the areas in case you want to drive there,? he said.

?In the present information-driven society, there is need to avail such information for whoever needs it, the purpose that geoportals serve.?

Dr Vincent Biruta, the minister for natural resources, who launched the geoportal, said it would help ease provision of some of the information normally needed by potential investors and tourists.

?This is an online platform where news about the country, maps, environment, infrastructure and others can be accessed and it will be available on the platform that can facilitate investors or tourists to get enough information about the country. Once informed about the country, investors can then identify areas with potential investment opportunities,? he said.

Institutions will continue carrying out own mapping activities, but the maps will have to be approved by RNRA before they can be placed on the geoportal.

Theogene Nsengimana, The NewTimes

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