Barbados Government Completes Digital Mapping Of Barbados Via Satellite… NOW POST IT ON THE WEB


Secretive Barbados Government Does Everything It Can To Deny Public Information To Citizens

The Government of Barbados has just completed using GPS satellite technology to digitally map the country. When this information is combined with satellite photographs and existing maps it provides an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to locate and closely define the exact positions of land boundaries, buildings and other features on the island. Access to this information would allow citizens to hold government officials accountable for the many schemes and violations of law that we have seen over the years – especially in relation to public lands.

So it is no wonder that the government will now hide the information from the citizens of Barbados.

There is also an inventory of government lands and buildings that exists, but the Government of Barbados sees no reason why any citizen should have access to that list either.

Pray tell us, Mr. Prime Minister, why the people of Barbados should continually have to beg for knowledge about what lands they own, and to whom our lands are sold and under what circumstances?

In this day such information could easily be posted on the web for all citizens to access. It could be posted on the web tomorrow with the push of a button.

But that would foil the strategy of the political and business elites in this country – who have for so long made money from the people’s land and resources. The elites will do anything to maintain their exclusive access to what should be public knowledge.

from The Nation News…

Farley: Digital mapping a step up

Published on: 7/11/07.

GOVERNMENT has completed the digital mapping of Barbados with the satellite technology offering an accuracy of half-a-metre or 18 inches.

This was disclosed yesterday by Minister of Housing and Lands Reginald Farley as he introduced a pair of resolutions in the House of Assembly to vest lands at two locations in St James in the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for their sale or lease.

The first was to approve the vesting of 781.6 square metres of land and a dwelling house at 42 Paradise Heights, formerly occupied by the top executive of the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD); while the second was to vest the 10 651 square feet and a dwelling house at 92 Wanstead Terrace, formerly occupied by a consultant at the Psychiatric Hospital.

Responding to calls from both sides of the House for there to be an inventory of Government lands, Farley pointed out that one did in fact exist, and contained about 2 600 listings, while the Crown owned about 478 buildings.

“The Lands and Surveys Department has completed the digital mapping of Barbados,” Farley said, “so that [for] all of Barbados, you can have down to an accuracy of half-a-metre – 18 inches – and you can take approximate measurements to do several scenarios.

“What we are seeking to do now by way of an enhanced land management system is to put that information on top of the geographic information system. And we will be overlaying on top of that base map, the registered survey plans for the Lands and Surveys department, the Land Tax information and all other relevant information.

Easy access

“So that within the ministry you will be able at the click of a mouse to go onto a parcel of land to find out information about ownership – whether it is owned by Government or someone else; you will be able to get contour information [that is] height, depth, slopes; [and] you will be able to get the information on how it is zoned.”

Farley said with the inventory in place, what was required was more effective policing of Government lands to make sure they were used for the intended purpose and that unauthorised people do not have access to those lands.

“Quite frankly,” he added, “too often when lands have to be surveyed either for sale or lease or for some form of development, it is then discovered there is some form of encroachment.”



Filed under Barbados, Environment, Politics & Corruption

17 responses to “Barbados Government Completes Digital Mapping Of Barbados Via Satellite… NOW POST IT ON THE WEB

  1. Wishing in Vain

    Tell me more I understand that the slime ball Wilkinson is in the process of making another $ 2 million in facilitating the change of use for another piece of land that will be ok’ed by his good friend Owing.
    I really hope that this is not really happening and if it does take place I sincerely hope the opposition gets hold of it and expose these bastards for their corruption.
    This has got to stop, these people are on a mad selling spree everything in this island is for sale so long as it has money involved for Owing and company.

  2. RRRicky

    The internet has threatened how these thieves have done business for generations. The idea that our public information should really be accessible by the public is foreign to them.

    It is not just the BLP where the problem is. It is the administrators and office workers in government who are as much the problem. They grow fat on their access to information too.

  3. Inkwell

    WIV, can you provide any details to substantiate your accusation? It is difficult for anyone who may be able to shed light on any particular situation if it can’t be identified.

  4. Zoom Info and type WILKINSON Rodney Levi and there are some interesting entries for those that have forgotten.

  5. reality check


    corruption can only work well in an environment of secrecy and “wink and nod”. No records equals no transparency and no way to find the truth.

    there is no other outlet other than BFP which asks the tough questions from public officials. There are also no answers forthcoming from the politicians for obvious reasons. Draw your own conclusions.

    The citizens of Barbados have paid for the satellite mapping and are entitled to ready access.

    Once again where is our opposition? The silence is deafening as well as revealing.

  6. Wishing in Vain

    Inkwell, then it would be obvious that those who are unable to shed the light are outside of the loop, but it will raise its head before too long I am sure this is just the opening salvo.
    The old people had a lovely saying that you can hide and buy land but you cannot hide and work it, this applies in this case.
    How many pieces of land in Barbados can set you back $ 17 million dollars ?

  7. B.L.P.

    Just because the citizens of Barbados have paid for the satellite mapping
    doesn’t necessarily mean they are entitled to ready access.!

    We Taxpayers paid for Owen’s Mercedes Benz, MP1
    but let me see u gain access to that: beg for a ride,nuh?

    We also paid for Trident, and the whole New Barbados Navy,soon to be delivered,
    but none of us civilians will have one second’s access to what OUR $$$ paid for, so get real.

    What we need is a freedom of information act,
    but given the current mottley crew of what-passes-for-politicians in this country,
    I don’t see THAT happening for several generations yet.

    We fancy ourselves a grown-up First Wurl Country,
    but in reality we’re just another little Caribbean island, playing island-nation,
    with real and surging tendencies towards megalomania(at the top)
    and secretive corruption.

  8. J. Payne

    I predict this is because of the Oil hunt…. According to the Barbados Government they are claiming that Barbados’ economic zone is sum 70,000 Sq. Km.

    That’s what someone ( I suspect in Government) told Caribbean 360.

    Of which only 431 Sq. Km (or so) is actually land…. lol

    See map here.

  9. Observer of the Process

    The story and comments are not 100% correct.

    The Lands and Survey Department contracted a firm to provide aerial photography. The base mapping was done manually and the only part that GPS may have played would have been in setting the ground control for the aerials.

    It is not “satellite” mapping. There are 3 types of data/information that you can obtain from satellites: imagery, GPS, and elevation data. Imagery is provided at a lower resolution than the aerial photography that was flown and the resolution that is available from the satellites is controlled by the US Government. The constellation of 26 GPS satellites will send out signals to GPS equipment that is used by surveyors, vehicle navigation, marine navigation etc. Elevation data can be derived from stereo imagery or satellites that carrier radar to do the elevation mapping but this is much less accurate than aerial LIDAR or ground surveying.

    “GOVERNMENT has completed the digital mapping of Barbados with the satellite technology offering an accuracy of half-a-metre or 18 inches.” This is a misinformed statement. I do not know “the satellite technology” which is being referred to here but there is no “satellite technology” that offers half-a-meter accuracy. You can achive and easily exceed that accuracy with the assitance of a base station on the ground that will provide corrections from the GPS signal that is received for a specific point.

    There is no “magic” satellite that will provide mapping data. I am sure that some feel that it is sexy to use the term “satellite mapping” but in reality it is just a misrepresentation of the facts and an easy way to identify mouthings from the uninformed or misinformed.

    The truth is that the Lands and Survey Department has been working on a parcel map for years and this project has help accelerate the process.

    This process was started independent of the so called “Oil Hunt.”

    The real story may be in how and who selected the firm that was awarded the contract.

    The Barbados Government is run in silos with many departments developing their own GIS data. This data is often not shared with other departments or the public. If the data is provided, it is usually provided at a cost, which makes no sense at all. Why should one government department have to pay another for government data? Aren’t you all on the same team?

    Dear BLP – “Just because the citizens of Barbados have paid for the satellite mapping
    doesn’t necessarily mean they are entitled to ready access.!” This is a backwards thinking sentiment. Are you also upset that women are allowed to vote? My recommendation to you is that you not be standing inside your silo when it comes crumbling down.

    In most States in the United States, most of the GIS and other data is freely available with the exception of sensitive personal data. If you go to this website for Seminole County, Florida GIS data you can freely download the data.

    FACT: The Seminole County Government actually determined that it cost them less in resources and staff time to post the data on the web and make it freely available than it did to process individual requests and charge back for the staff time to prepare the data.

    This whole process is automated to grab live data sets (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) zip the files and post them on their ftp site. It was easy to set up and easy to maintain.

    Their postion is that if you want the data, here it is go get it. That way the government staff can do their real work.

    The rationale behind this is that the data was developed and paid for with Tax Payer Dollars so the public has already paid for the data and the government cannot charge the public for the data again. The notion that a government agency charges it’s citizens for use of government data that was developed with tax payer dollars is absurd.

    The true “value” in this type of data is in freely sharing the data. It may be viewed as a progressive move but in reality it will help streamline and improve many processes in both the public and private sectors.

    FYI – Seminole County has a population of approximately 400,000 and a land area of 344 square miles. Barbados is approximately 275,000 and 167 square miles. The Seminole County GIS Coordinators Office has a staff of 4 people who coordinate with each of the other departments to facilitate the update and maintenance of their GIS data. Think about it.

  10. J. Payne

    I’m sorry the map of Barbados’ territory map link comes out all weird….

    There’s two ways to get to it…

    At the far left– is a box which reads “Downloads”,
    Select “Bid Block Map”.

    The other way.
    On the same site goto the Javascript drop-menus near the top of the page,
    goto “Offshore Lic. Round”

    scroll down to “Barbados Bid Block Map” and click on it…

    In both, the map will load with all of the Atlantic Ocean that Barbados is claiming. And it includes the new fixed maritime bondary with T&T in it. Guyana’s boundaries, will be released soon as will Surinam’s as their ruling is supposedly to be handed down by the end of 2007 by UNCLOS.

  11. J. Payne

    I sure– hope the Barbados government did this on a clear day…. It seems like the Satellite companies always wait until a cloudy day whenever they do the mapping… E.g. look at Google maps… all the clouds all around parts of Barbados.

  12. Observer of the Process

    The government mapping was not done with a satellite it was done with a plane. Perhaps you should read my previous post before you fill this page with blather. By the way…most days in Barbados are cloudy.

  13. Jason

    The main point of the article is not how the information was technically obtained but that we the people will never see it.

  14. Root

    I for one am glad this map has been completed, may I suggest one use for it.

    The Barbados government can now see exactly how much land is in foreign hands. I would like the government to limit foreign ownership of land to its present level or less.

    That way foreigners can still buy land anywhere they like on the island as long as this land does not exceed the ‘foreingers’ quota.

    One good thing out of this would be overseas buyers pay what they can afford ($ millions); whilst not inflating the local market, where ordinary Bajans struggle to own a small plot.

    Yes I hear some of you say, but overseas buyers will just get locals to buy for them, hmmm I doubt if they trust us that much.

  15. rorlan

    So, where can we get the digital maps? Who do we contact? Has there been any more developments on this dossier?

  16. Another Observer of the Process

    Don’t know if more discussion will happen on this topic, but like “observer of the process” noted, there is a lot of technical misunderstanding about how the the mapping was done; however, that doesn’t undermine the fact that there has been a lot of secrecy and corruption associated with these new digital maps. Having public access to this data is certainly every Bajan’s right, but it will no doubt be difficult to attain given the governments attitude. Besides shedding light on government scams from selling land, perhaps it would be mores constructive to rally (an not just on the internet) support for the release and use of this data for environmental management purposes. A lot can be achieved, and is being hampered by this protectionist ideology, where data is not even shared between government departments. For other purposes, you don’t have to rely on the data the government has, GoogleEarth has very high resolution for Barbados, and the island is small enough to conduct field surveys by citizens, so if you get a few people with the technical know how, you can produce a lot of valuable information and shove it in the face of the bastards making scams.

  17. Ummm….. digital mapping isnt something only the government can do. I think they rate themselves too high. I guess they believe that only them can create a digital map of the country….well I hate to burst their bubble, but they are resources online that someone with basic CAD (computer assisted design) experience can use to develop such mapping in a matter of weeks time…. I myself started a project years ago, with the idea to have the data available to the public through the internet in a way where users can perform tasks similar to google maps but with additional features…. As a young person in barbados i laugh at how selfish the government is with such information….because in a matter of years time they wouldn’t they will not be the only source of that type of information…. cheers 🙂