Mapping, imagery are critical tools in curbing terrorism – Surveyor-General

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Abuja – The Surveyor-General of the Federation, Prof. Peter Nwilo, on Friday identified usage of the mapping and imagery surveying techniques as major tools in curbing terrorism.

Nwilo made this known at a news conference and presentation of a paper in Abuja.

The paper is entitled: “Optimisation of the use of facilities and information in the office of the Surveyor-General of the Federation’’.

He said the use of the imagery technique could assist Nigerians to see a lot of things, including objects that were half a metre visible.

The surveyor-general added that there was another technique that could detect objects of 20 centimetres.

Nwilo said the success of the military intelligence was hinged on map and geospatial information, adding that there were many ways they could be used.

He said that some countries had put it to proper use and had been ahead of its civilian populace.

“In most countries, the military develops this techniques before it get to the civilians.

“I believe that in the Northern part of the country; a lot of the success they made is based on information due to the use of mapping and remote senses.

“You cannot do military intelligence without the maps and the imageries, in this country today, there are imageries that are seven centimetre resolution, so it depends.

“If you map an area at a higher resolution, the information you get will be much better.

“So, these things are possible but of course when you have a forest it is more difficult so you will now have to use other methods of remote senses to work.

“These are visual technologies that you can use and when I say everybody can use it, it is true.

“For instance, if we put a Global Positioning System (GPS) chip, which helps to tell the location of a person on somebody’s leg, we can trace the location anywhere he goes.

“In South America where there are lots of terrorist activities, some wealthy men use it; they will put GPS chips in their bodies.

“So, if you carry them away, they can be traced anywhere they are and it works, so these technologies would be useful to us too.

“These things are there but the question is do we appreciate that they are there?

“They can even monitor crime, so I say that we have not really optimally tapped what is available to us,’’ he said.

Nwilo said that his office was working on developing its map sheet to make it more modern, adding that the normal standard map sheet was one in 100, 000.

He said over the years, they had one in 50, 000, which means the space in one in 100 000 would be divided into four.

The surveyor-general further said that the new one now was one in 25, 000, which is 16 sheets in one in 100, 000.

Nwilo said they were now reversing the other maps and producing new maps of one in 25,000.

He noted that the office had almost covered the entire country with auto-photo imageries with a resolution of 2.5 metres.

“We also have what we call elevation model, which gives you an idea of the height of things anywhere in the country, while for the imagery; we have covered 90 per cent.

“We have new imageries with 0.5 resolutions; this means that anything that is half a metre can be seen from that photograph.

“That is quite a high resolution but that is not the only way you can get imageries, even through satellite and by flying using aircraft with a camera put under it.’’

Nwilo added that the office was working on reviewing the Surveyors’ Coordination Act, which he said, was reviewed last in 1973. (NAN)

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