WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement on Monday launched a N$19-million project that entails the gathering of aerial and orthophoto images of the country.
Such a project will be useful to the country for purposes of mapping, planning, land registration, resettlement and agricultural development.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Lidwina Shapwa, the project for the acquisition, processing and development of orthophotos of central Namibia will also facilitate the mapping and identification of natural resources so as to improve their management and utilisation.
“I wish to underscore that these images will make a valuable contribution to enhance policy decisions as well as the attainment of our national developmental agenda,” Shapwa said at the launch.
The project will cover central Namibia between 20 degree south latitude and 24 degree 10 minutes south latitude, covering an area of 320 000 square kilometers.
The central part of Namibia is currently covered by aerial images dating back to 1996, which by international standards are now outdated.
According to Shapwa, the updating of National Fundamental Geospatial Datasets has been and remains a priority in the development budget of the ministry, since it provides continuous up to date datasets in all facets of the country’s development.
Namibia is rated among the first countries in Africa that have moved from analog-based map revision to a complete digital map revision regime.
“This has put Namibia in the forefront of those countries gravitating towards developing a functional national spatial data infrastructure,” Shapwa said.
The project will deliver full-colour digital, imagery including panchromatic and infra-red, with applications such as map revision, land-use planning, archeology, movie production, environmental studies, surveillance and environmental site assessments.
According to the Surveyor-General, Uzochukwu Okafor, the development of digital photogrammetry with scalable modules addressing specialised tasks and integrated with Geographical Information Systems has opened new vistas to the geospatial industry.
“For example, in map revision, aero triangulation could take place in London, while digital elevation model and the creation of orthophotos could take place in Johannesburg with the 2D or 3D extraction of the feature taking place in Windhoek,” Okafor explained.
The N$19,5 million orthophoto project has been awarded to COWI A/S, a Danish firm in partnership with Shanyengana and Associates Land Surveyors, a local entity.
According to the Shapwa, most of the projects of this magnitude include in the tender a requirement to compel international bidders to partner with Namibian companies.
The benefit of such a partnership, she said, is that capacity is developed in the government and the Namibian private geospatial sector.
Currently, the digital infra-red and panchromatic photography covering seven regions – Caprivi, Kunene, Kavango, Omusati, Oshikoto, Ohangwena and Oshana – was done in 2007 together with Khomas and is available to the public.
The southern region will be done in future, depending on future budget allocations.
“It is important to note that due consideration has been given to produce new datasets in areas of high demand and where development happens at a more accelerated pace than in other areas,” Shapwa explained.
For the purpose of the exercise, the country has been divided into three blocks – northern, central and southern Namibia.