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Cartographic Operations Division (COD) Goes Digital

By Andres Calimutan – March 04, 2013

The COD started when analog maps are the heart and soul of cartography. Fairly equipped due to equipment infusion of FAO-UNDP grant aid, the COD produced diazo-printed maps, hand colored when requested for clarity and presentability, to cater to the needs of planners and other map users. These maps help the farmers and other stakeholders on matters relative to the proper utilization and management of soil and water as vital agricultural resources.

In 1989, through the facilities under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the division began to produce and distribute offset printed maps using the division’s two color proof press, but, the high cost of materials halted proof press printing operation.

The digital mapping operation began in 2004 through the digitizing board provided by the Integrated Soil Resources Information Service and Soil Survey Division. Since then, the COD assumed the digitization activities especially those related to SAFDZ/CLUP Integration Project (of ALMED) and Fertility Mapping project (of Soil Survey Division). Mapping activities of these projects start from the preparation of base map with digitized maps as its outputs.

The pending rationalization of the Department of Agriculture and its bureau creates a different scenario for COD personnel. The COD will become Digital Cartography Section of a new division to be known as Geomatics and Soil information technology Division, and as the name suggest, those who will be accommodated in the section must be knowledgeable in digitization – a tall order for most of the personnel who passed the halfway mark of mortality and are nearing to enjoy dual citizenship – Filipino Citizen and senior citizen.

As its capability building efforts, the COD conducted digitization workshop last December 21-22, 2012 at Los Banos, Laguna. Among the topics discussed were introduction to the reference system - the Luzon Datum and the World Geodetic System of 1984 (WGS 84); introduction and familiarization with “The Environment of Visualizing Image(ENVI)”; and introduction and familiarization with ARCVIEW. In this workshop, the participants were given hands-on training on how to register and geo-reference maps using ENVI; how to work with layers in digitization using ARCVIEW; and basic layout and design also using ARCVIEW.

Today, the division was able to add six (6) new working stations bringing the total stations to ten and is hoping to acquire new computer programs higher than ARCVIEW version 3.0 for its upgrading initiatives.

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