SL Army launches ‘Geo-Citizen Information System Project’

Friday, 9 December 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis

reporting from Kuala Lumpur

The Sri Lanka Army, in a first for South East Asia, has developed a citizen information collection scheme known as the ‘Geo-Citizen Information System Project’ at a cost of Rs. 2.5 million.

Run under the authority of the Defence Ministry and created by the Centre for Research and Development and Sri Lanka Army, the project aims at creating a digital data base on all citizens living in the country.

IT Advisor to Sri Lanka Army and Head of IT Centre for Research and Development of Ministry of Defence Colonel Dr. Thiran De Silva told the Daily FT on Wednesday that the pilot project of the ‘Geo-Citizen Information System Project’ had been conducted in Gampaha.

Dr. De Silva said: “This project aims at collecting all information about persons living in the country, even a month-old child, and putting it together on a database.” This system would cover not only personal information but also what is known as ‘spatial information,’ which would offer satellite images of the residencies of the people as well.

“The data collection would have personal information, family background and even household data coupled with satellite images of their homes. We have added in to the system, details such as the road network, electricity, water and even the drainage system to compile a comprehensive data book.”

The technological application for the project has been designed and developed by the Sri Lanka Army free of charge along with the Centre for Research and Development of the Ministry of Defence. Additionally 140 students have been recruited from Kelaniya University for collection of data etc.

The pilot project had been initiated over a year ago in Gamapaha, according to Dr. De Silva. He revealed that it took 12 months for the training of the grama niladaris and district secretaries and for collection of data.

Currently, the project is in Phase Two, at which spatial data is being collected. Data collection of other districts will happen soon, when the signal is given from the top hierarchy, Dr. De Silva expressed.

“The project is a brainchild of Economic Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who wanted to have a central database for the country,” he noted.

The project once completed will be distributed among key Government bodies such as the other military organisations of the country and the Urban Development Authority (UDA) for their purposes.