Cartography is the art, science and technology of making maps and map alternatives. It entails the combination of science, aesthetics and techniques to form a model. It builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively. It is also the art, science and technology of graphically representing a geographical area usually in the flat surface.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 40th anniversary/national conference and annual general meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Cartographic Association (NCA) with the theme ‘Cartography and geospatial revolution: Decision tools for national security, disaster management and economic recovery’ in Abuja, the surveyor-general of the federation, Ebisintei Awudu said the spates of advancements and innovations in science and technology had globally impacted positively on mapping profession in all aspects – geodesy, photogrammetry, cartography, remote sensing, hydrography and land surveying amongst others.
“The world cannot boast of where it is today without the enormous input of map makers, it would have been in the state of ‘without form and void’ as stated in the Holy Bible. It’s hard to imagine how living would have been without maps for proper planning, to locate a store in a shopping mall is made easier by referring to a map, so is life infinitely easier from finding our way around town, locating the closest pharmacy, restaurant, recreational areas, etc. Maps simplify the physical world,” he said.
He, however, pointed out the need for survey and mapping professional in Nigeria to brace-up for relevance in the next century.
He said, “The OSGOF (office of the survey-general of the federation) is constantly in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and MDAs in the acquisition and production of relevant geospatial information for the purpose of tackling the various national security, environmental and economic challenges for the sustainable national development,” he said.
The president of the NCA, Prof. Andrew Obafemi, in his speech, commended the founding fathers of the association, saying its 40th anniversary celebration was a tipping point which availed the association the privilege of meeting with policy and decision makers in the federal capital city to deliberate on areas where cartography could help in national development.
“For this year, we considered the urgent need for decision makers at various levels of governance in our nation to hear what NCA can bring on board. This in fact has to do with exploring every available and useful strategies and tools to prosecute the ravaging insecurity and disasters that tend to hamper economic recovery and sustainability in our nation,” he said.
Obafemi described the theme of the conference as very apt, going by the developmental necessities and directions that have become indispensable to the nation’s journey of nation building and economic recovery.
He urged the Federal Government to set-up a national cartographic centre that would have the mandate of producing diverse range of thematic or special purpose maps that the nation direly needs, saying it would house and coordinate cartography profession in Nigeria.
He also urged the National Assembly to pass a bill establishing the cartographers registration council to ensure that the practice of map-making in the country is regulated with the guidance and coordination of the Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation which has the constitutional responsibility of overseeing surveying and mapping activities in Nigeria.
In his welcome remarks, the director-general of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Prof. Seidu Mohammed also described the theme of the conference as apt, saying it came when the nation needed to be more vigilant and take issues of earth observation very seriously.
“The theme for this conference is apt, certainly it cannot be at a better time than now. You’ve seen in recent times that gradually our nation is becoming vulnerable for all forms of disasters. It has become an annual ritual to have flooding problems all over the country and therefore it becomes our responsibility to make sure that our extra eye which is our earth observation satellite are kept active to make sure that we continue to provide necessary data of the drainage pattern and density of this country to those that desire them. It is in the light of this that we believe that NASRDA would continue to offer those services which are in the interest of the nation,” he added.
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