A two-day conference ended today at the Biltmore Plaza where a cadre of engineers converged to discuss the use of geographic data to create successful businesses and make informed decisions. It’s the 2013 Belize GIS User Conference and this year, the number of participants increased over last year. Duane Moody found out that GIS is accessible and available to all sectors.

Duane Moody, Reporting

What is GIS? It stands for Geographical Information Systems and is a software used to develop informed decisions using geographical data.  And today, at the Biltmore Plaza, day one of the Belize GIS User Conference 2013 was held. The two-day conference is to sensitize the general public including students, businesses and government officials of the ease of using the software, to map the potential of your business, epidemics and social issues.

Loretta Palacio

Loretta Palacio, Managing Director, Total Business Solutions Limited

“Most countries around the world use GIS for national development. So GIS covers everybody. It is the only technology—I always say—that brings everybody together; whether you are a student, educator, farmer, you’re in insurance, banking, real estate and the list goes on. And so today, we have people from all these industries here.  What we are trying to do is to create this awareness that there is a new way of understanding and we haven’t looked at our information, our data, the way that we should. So we are managing businesses, we are managing country, but we are not gathering the data in a GIS.  GIS is more than a map. It allows government, it allows, business, decision-makers, to be able to look at their business critically.”

Several local businesses are already using technology to conduct every day business. Linda Peters of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) says that the software can be used for entrepreneurs.

Linda Peters

Linda Peters, Business Development Rep., Economic and Social Research Institute

“It helps us solve problems, it helps us understand how to make better decisions so from an executive stand point giving you access to information; knowing where to go in the market; how to respond to a catastrophe or a field worker in sharing information into your company or to your agency and to have more visibility and transparency in your company.  When you are a business coming into a new area, you don’t know anything about that area. You want to understand something about the people that live there and the businesses that are there and geography really helps you pull that all together. So our systems can help you with those questions on do I open a store here and if I do, how big should it be and what kind of products do I want to carry in that store.”

The Belize Electricity Limited is one entity that is using the GIS program and according to Manager of System Plan and Engineering, Rolando Santos, GIS will allow them to explore options and functions using the software.

Rolando Santos

Rolando Santos, Manager, System Plan and Engineering, B.E.L.

“2011, we basically started a project to do some data collection of our infrastructure within our distribution system. Little did we know that this could have developed into a solution that we could use for our company. So as part of that solution we continued the data collection countrywide. And now we are in the process of using TBSL and ESRI to come out with a solution to use all these data. We have just basically started exploring all the options and the available functions that we can do with this software and we are in the implementation stage at this time.”

During the course of the two day period, several focus groups will make presentations’ on the use of the technology. Duane Moody for News Five.

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