Geographic Information Sciences and Technologies ... and the gvSIG Users Community in Honduras

The field of Geographic Information has been a somewhat dispersed exercise in Honduras, which is not different from other countries in Latin America where many projects make heavy investments with external resources or cooperation but eventually end up discontinuing in government institutions with a waste Of the utility of information and without fulfilling the basic purpose of preventing duplicity of efforts.

Cartography honduras

However, I want to rescue an initiative that in my opinion may be the engine that concentrates different actors and that in time will emulate part of the role that represents in Guatemala the University San Carlos, the guild scope in Costa Rica with the Colegio de Ingenieros Topógrafos And the institutional strength of INETER In Nicaragua. All very good referents but with the weakness of being disintegrated not only in the local but regional environment.

And what is involved is not a gigantic institution that knows how to do everything, but an entity that together and sustainability in a weak point: academic accreditation. I refer to the Faculty of Space Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, where to date converge efforts that I hope in future articles to deepen:

The Master of Territorial Planning.

Cartography hondurasIt started near 2004 with the support of the University of Alcalá and the Spanish Agency of Cooperation in the Phase II formulation years of PATH. The result of this work and other research projects have been publications such as:

  • The multimedia Atlas prototype of the Historic Center of the Central District of Honduras.
  • The spatial analysis for the identification of zones with priority of intervention for the development and improvement of the Historical Center of Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela.
  • The study of spatial distribution of surface ozone patterns in the urban environment of the Central District.
  • Characterization of hydrothermal and dynamic alteration of soil cover by remote sensing methods in the Choluteca valley.
  • The establishment of the geodetic network of Tegucigalpa, using GPS technologies and liaison with the official reference networks of Central America.
  • The Conformation of a Spatial Data Infrastructure for the UNAH with projection at national level within the framework of the Multidisciplinary Projects Program: Territory, Population and Sustainability.
  • The creation of new SEXTANTE and about gvSIG, Focusing on improving the application GvSIG-FONSAGUA For the planning of actions for water supply and sanitation in rural areas of Honduras UDC-UNAH-UNEX.

The last two are processes currently under development, which draw attention. Of one of them I spoke earlier in an article but not with the approach that has now taken up the University.

The Career of Geographic Information Sciences and Technologies.

Currently the Faculty serves general classes that are at an optional level:

  • Introduction to Global Geopocision Systems
  • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • Introduction to Remote Sensing

But from the year 2013 is expected to start the offer of the Degree known as CTIG with which the University innovates in this area in order to instruct academically the human resource with optimal mastery in the areas of Geographic Information Science and Technologies as :

  • Geographic information systems
  • Global Geo-Positioning Systems
  • Remote Perception
  • Spatial Data Infrastructure
  • Mapping
  • Informatics Sciences related to the field of Science and Geographic Information Technologies, to support the different sectors of the country.

Cartography hondurasThe course has 52 materials, 231 valuation units and is planned to be taken in 5 years. The best thing about this is that the academy is in its field of action, in establishing the criteria that the graduate must meet to qualify in the labor field related to it. Action that is not equal when it is developed by the private company or by public entities of accreditation.

And of course the best impact of this is the strengthening of the functioning of existing institutions, whose professional development is directed within the field as:

Institute of Property, Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Institute of Forest Conservation, General Directorate of Irrigation and Natural Disasters, Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock, Permanent Commission of Contingency, Directorate for Promotion to Mining, Ministry of Interior and Population, Company National Energy and Electric, Honduran Telecommunications Company, Honduran Institute of Tourism, National Statistics Institute. In addition, the same universities and the private sector.

The Short Career Technician in Cadastre.

This is a project that seeks to disgregate from the previous degree a technician who takes the offer to a broader level, for the case the heads of municipal cadastre where the vast majority of local governments are not in condition to pay the tariff of a bachelor's degree. Also to fill a gap where the National Cadastre has neglected a potential role in the accreditation of human resources based on competencies.

This course is around 28 classes, with some subjects in fiscal and normative subjects with a greater intensity. Although with potential to be scalable to the degree.

The subject is still on the design table but is expected to walk in the next few years as the degree is promoted.

Your link with Open Source Software

The most attractive thing about this initiative is its openness to free software.

It is a subject in which I hope to be involved from another sector, but possibly in the coming years this faculty will concentrate efforts for the formation of the gvSIG user community, not only because some of their exercises have been with these tools but because of their link with the support of public funds from Spain, where the initiative was born but that without a doubt will be able to position itself in the American continent with more interesting impacts than those seen in Europe and Africa.

Latin America is a fertile continent for free software, we have already seen it in the south cone. This is quite obvious not only because of the savings that private licensing represents but because of the high rates of piracy, discontinuity of efforts due to the weakness in the administrative career and the potential represented by a full continent that officially speaks only two languages: Spanish and Portuguese; the same as the Iberian peninsula where gvSIG was born.

In good time for this effort, we want important results not only in Honduras but in the Central American region taking advantage of spaces that already exist and where what is needed is agreement.

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