A project that was slated to commence three weeks ago by the Lands and Surveys Commission to remap Guyana is delayed as a result of the “illegal removal” of a laptop that is integral to the process.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission Trevor Benn told a news conference that the laptop was stolen from the aircraft which belongs to North West Geomatics Ltd – a Canadian based company that has been contracted to conduct the remapping.

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The aircraft was parked at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timehri.

The laptop has since been replaced by the company and work is set to begin shortly.

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“The consultant and his team are on the ground. There are two aircraft at the Ogle airport…[but] now that they’ve replaced the laptop, the rains are upon us so it’s [remapping] further delayed,” Benn said.

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The remapping is being done at a cost of US$18M (GYD$3,765 817 800).

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The Commission had initially pegged the project between $5.3B to $16B but North West Geomatics Ltd was found to complete the task at a cheaper cost.

Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Trevor Benn

The remapping of the country’s land and water resources will begin with Region one (Barima-Waini) and parts of Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).

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The first phase of the project will cost $230.1M. The Canadian company will be using the latest LIDAR Technology to capture relevant data.

“This remapping exercise will provide the platform for updating our national topographic dataset and will support a host of critical government and private sector needs,” Benn told the media.

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LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.

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The GL&SC, which is responsible for state lands administration and surveying, is faced with a number of issues due to outdated maps of the country; there are challenges associated with inadequate information of available land and other resources.

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Benn said Guyana has not been remapped in over five decades and as a result, Guyanese have had to rely on outside companies for maps of specific areas when dealing with investors.

As such, the GL&SC has hired an independent UK Consultant to train staff to review data that the Commission receives.

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The Commission is also acquiring drones under the Sustainable Land Development and Management project funded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The state-owned agency is examining several ways to improve its systems to meet the increased demand for lands.

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According to Benn, the agency has started to streamline data processing to reduce processing time for applications. The Commission this year processed a total of 3537 applications of which 849 were approved and prepared a total of 489 leases.

In 2019, the GL&SC also established a legal division which managed to 16 High Court cases.

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