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Every ten years, the kingdom of Nepal holds a census for the collection of demographic data to be used as the essential basis for planning and programs regarding the economic and social development of the country. In preparation of the performance and distribution of this regular census, the entire country has been newly mapped and digital maps have been produced in the past few years in order to provide a uniform national geographical information system (GIS).

In May 2002, Lahmeyer International was entrusted by the European Union (EU) with the establishment of a National Geo-graphical Information Infrastructure (NGII) and the census distribution on the basis of this GIS and the internet. EU funds particularly contribute to the capacity provision of the Survey Department (SD) and the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) in the field of GIS, databases, net-working and internet application. Four other Ministries are also equipped with appropriate GIS units, and together with the SD and the CBS they act as the basic consortium for a uniform geographical information infrastructure in Nepal.

Another significant contribution to the project is consulting with regard to the provision of a legal and administrative infrastructure as well as a pricing strategy for the exchange of digital data. The NGII is an open system for researching and distributing spatial and other digital information for the private and public sectors. In order to ensure an efficient data exchange, international standards and formats are applied. In addition, guidelines and compliance on a national level are given in more detail. One of the system's central functions is a meta database providing important information on existing data in a catalogue format. The purpose of this central information system is the future avoidance of superfluous work; apart from this, uniform data formats ensure smooth exchange.

The technical implementation of the project is divided into two main stages: the system development and the migration. The development stage primarily comprises strategic planning, implementation planning and detailed design of hardware and software. A prototype system is to be used as the basis for the development of various databases and the application software, as well as the provision of a web portal with a clearing house and an intranet. The core system, which primarily consists of computer hardware and network, is to be installed together with the relevant project partners in mid 2004. The subsequent migration stage includes the installation of the completed database systems and applications with the ministries involved, the CBS and 33 nationwide-spread CBS district offices.

With the implementation of the project, Nepal followed global efforts to establish uniform spatial data infrastructures. The improvement of information infrastructure and a user-friendly access to GIS data for the public and private sectors as well as for countless relief organizations represents an important contribution to the country's development.

Jürgen Stadel


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