• The San Juan Daily Star

Housing Dept. launches program to centralize geospatial data

Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez

By John McPhaul

Island Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez announced on Sunday the first stage of the Puerto Rico Geospatial Infrastructure Program (GeoFrame), which seeks to consolidate the island government’s geospatial databases.

The new program, through federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds, will produce a spatial data infrastructure, or SDI, composed of records of land parcels, occupancy, geophysical risk, physical addresses, land use, critical structures (hospitals, schools, emergency shelters) and other data, with the main purpose of improving municipal and state knowledge and impacting future public policy decisions.

“Accurate spatial information will prevent emergency services from being stopped during future natural disasters by, for example, speeding up the response of specialized teams traveling on unmapped roads,” Rodríguez said. “Currently there is no complete, secure data infrastructure that provides information as accurate as we need. That is why we launched GeoFrame.”

The program, which has a budget of $50 million, will be executed with the assistance of various agencies. The Puerto Rico Planning Board will be the first to receive funds granted by the Housing Department to participate and assist in its implementation.

Designated Planning Board Chairman Manuel A. G. Hidalgo said a key recruitment process will begin for the technical and administrative execution of GeoFrame.

“The recruitment effort for the execution of the program includes technical and specialized personnel,” Hidalgo said. “The implementation of the project is still in its early stages, so the recruitment of technical staff is critical. Among the positions to be recruited are project manager, senior professional planner, professional planner, senior planning analysts and GIS analysts.”

The officials reiterated that the initiative will lay the foundations for optimizing Puerto Rico’s agencies and municipalities from a planning, land use and tax perspective, and will ensure that the emergency response meets better standards of public safety and interagency efficiency.

Rodríguez noted that part of the GeoFrame implementation effort has included holding meetings with central government agencies that collect geospatial databases to begin the data compilation process.

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