Speech by Ambassador Peter Sorensen at the closing event of the EU funded project “Spatial information services for BiH – phase two – Digital ortophoto maps”

02 July 2014

Minister Novic, representatives of entities and Brcko district, colleagues and friends,

It is personally pleasure to see the results and progress we have achieved thanks to our project“Spatial information services for BiH – phase two – Digital ortophoto maps” which we are formally closing today.

Indeed my first event related to an EU funded project that I attended upon arrival in Bosnia and Herzegovina back in 2011 was to mark the launch of the Permanent GPS Stations Networks for the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina which was the First phase of Spatial information services for BiH.

This ortophoto mapping of the country has now uncovered entirely new possibilities.  

During the course of this Project, the entire whole teritory of 51,129 sq km of the country was covered by 29,300 aerial photographies. Two airplanes were mobilised which flew over 74 sorties and 260 hours altogether.

The end result is worth it. This project has, already prior to today’s concluding event, helped provide crucial information and shown itself to be a valuable instrument of the administrative ‘infrastructure’.

Most recently, the maps have proved to be useful during the terrible floods. Municipalities have been able to access the maps and digital terrain modelling via the geodetic institutes, to decide how to re-route the roads. The photos allow us now to compare the pre-flood situation with current satellite imagery to help define the damages.

Also, last October, the ortophoto maps have been crucial, for the timely completion of the census enumeration. They made it possible to define and delineate enumeration areas including the number of estimated households, plan the complex enumeration exercise accordingly and provide for a Quality Control process throughout.

A third example is how the maps have contributed to the Implementation of the Mine Action Strategy, through the integration of the ortophoto maps into the land release process of the Mine Action Centre.  

This project makes a real difference for citizens of BiH. If the necessary instruments are developed and the possibilities exploited, this entire geospatial system will help in the future to speed up the resolution of land disputes or the issuance land ownership documents. It could eliminate inconsistencies in land registers.

Data generated from this system will be used in the future for the future assistance of the EU in the area of agriculture as well as potentially in urban planning and infrastructure development.

Beyond that, the ortophoto maps will help the creation of topographic information system of BiH, the development of disaster management system, flood prevention, to create base map for national security system, geology, archaeology, etc.

 I am delighted that such good results have been achieved, which would not have been possible without the excellent cooperation between the responsible authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Many thanks and congratulations to everybody involved in the Project for their contribution and efforts, and I wish you further success in the future.

Thank you all for excellent cooperation!