Castries, Saint Lucia


The Ministry of Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal, in seeking to implement The World Bank's Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI), held an official launch of this geospatial data web application called Saint Lucia Integrated National GeoNode (SLING) on Thursday 29th March 2012, at Coco Palm Hotel, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia. Over 35 participants from government and private sector agencies attended the event. The following is some additional information about Open DRI and GeoNode:-

Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI):
In order to build resilient societies, policy-makers and the public must have access to the right data and information to inform good decisions. Decisions such as where and how to build safer schools, how to insure farmers against drought, and how to protect coastal cities against future climate impacts. Sharing data and creating open systems promotes transparency, accountability, and ensures a wide range of actors are able to participate in the challenge of building resilience. The OpenDRI aims to reduce the impact of disasters by empowering decisions-makers with better information and the tools to support their decisions.

OpenDRI implements the first policy recommendation of the joint World Bank / UN flagship report, Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters, the Economics of Effective Prevention, which establishes the importance of data sharing to reduce vulnerability to disasters. OpenDRI also builds upon the World Bank's broader Open Data Initiative. OpenDRI is currently implementing these ideas in 25 countries around the world to improve disaster and climate change resilience.

Sharing data to rebuild a Nation
An example of OpenDRI in action is This website is built using a free and open source software tool, GeoNode, and makes risk assessment data produced following the 2010 Haiti earthquake available for anyone to download and use. This tool enables individuals and organizations to download as well as contribute their own data, thereby promoting collaboration around the management of the information needed to rebuild Haiti.

SLING is powered by GeoNode, an open-source geospatial data archiving and map sharing application. GeoNode is an open source platform that facilitates the creation, sharing, and collaborative use of geospatial data. It is a complete spatial data infrastructure solution that extends the OpenGeo Architecture with catalog functionality and a sophisticated user experience. Highly customizable and extendable, it is also a powerful platform on which to build your domain specific analysis applications.

- Upload and manage data security through the Django-based web application interface
- User profiles for all your geospatial team
- A complete metadata catalog solution through CSW provided by GeoNetwork
- Participatory map creation and editing using built-in GIS tools built with GeoExt
- Publish and share maps and data with all the power of GeoServer
- Browse your spatial resources at blazing speed of GeoWebCache
- Available as Ubuntu and CentOS packages, with scripts available for cloud deployment

SLING will be used for sharing geospatial data (at a national level). A broader regional objective is to have similar GeoNode implementations in the other Caribbean islands, with the view of ultimately being able to sharing data at a regional level.

World Bank Funded Geo Data Activities

The following are some of the data management activities submitted by The Ministry of Physical Development, Housing And Urban Renewal to be funded by The World Bank:

Gravity Correction
Gravity correction for localized geoid in order to correct inconsistencies with current Geoid (CARIB97). Local anomalies in the gravitational model need to be verified. This activity will rectify geoid issues and finally establish mean sea level values for the island. Sea level changes could then be monitored and will provide the base elevation model for the island's vertical infrastructure.

Extension of Geodetic Network
Additional CORS Stations to improve geometry coverage for existing Geodetic/Survey Infrastructure. Internet (frame relay), router, installation. (Dennery and Rosseau). This will allow mapping agencies to obtain precise GPS coordinates both in real-time and post processing. Problems exist in the current local network which require corrections to align with WGS84. This will allow for data to be converted to gps observable coordinates. All horizontal GIS and GPS vulnerability mapping will be based on the integrity of the system.

Establishment of new Elevation Benchmarks
Re-establish a vertical network throughout the island incorporating existing Trigonometric points, and associated geoid corrections. The previously established benchmark (vertical) system had been severely compromised. This activity will serve as the basis for GPS collected data which will be the framework for GIS vertical data. The collection of water resource, ground subsidence, flood mapping and other such data is dependent on the integrity of this network and hence must be properly re-established.

GPS/GIS Data Collection and Mapping Devices
Procurement of Trimble Hand Held GPS/GIS Data Collection devices - 4 GEOXH6000 and 8 Juno SDs with software. This will help to build GIS capacity of the relevant agencies involved in data gathering process. Currently these agencies have inadequate hardware resources required to perform data collecting functions relevant to environmental and infrastructural mapping.

Survey Equipment
Traditional Total Station survey as well as GPS Survey equipment and data collectors to be procured for high-accuracy data collection. 4 Total Stations and Peripherials, 2 R8 Rovers and 2 TSC2 Data Collectors, 4 TDS Nomad, 12 UHF/VHF Radios, 7 plan hold cabinets. Precise monitoring of topographic changes can be measured using these high-accuracy devices. Either of these devices have their unique advantages in various terrain and environmental conditions. Occurrences such as bridge, dam, land movement and spatial displacement are only a few examples where such high-accuracy measurements can be utilized.

ArcGIS software

Procurement of most current suite of ArcGIS software including appropriate licenses for the given time period. The Ministry is one of the contributing agencies of data into GeoNode therefore it is imperative that the department has the most efficient software package for the creation, maintenance and transfer of data to the application.

CAD and Data Collection Software
Procurement of AutoCad software plus Carlson Survey Software, Trimble Business Office software, Pathfinder and Terrasync and associated licenses. The software packages chosen interface with the agency's data collection methods to accurately convert data into CAD. CAD is needed to interpret field data collected from environment monitoring exercises to create accurate depictions of what is on ground, which provides the basis of map production.

Computer Systems and Equipment
Procurement of field rugged laptops, additional hard disk capacity on servers (for storage of maps, scanned documents, aerial photographs etc.) plus racks, increasing of network bandwidth. The Ministry of Physical Development needs to increase its storage capacity on the existing computer servers and increase the network access speed. This is necessary to be able to archive and provide access to large datasets in support of GeoNode. The procurement of field rugged laptops is necessary for data collection where harsh outdoor/atmospheric conditions exist.

Training in TRIMBLE Equipment
Training in TRIMBLE Equipment. The Ministry of Physical Development has procured Trimble hardware and software because of the all-encompassing abilities to go from field to map within the Trimble brand. The mixed suits of survey and GIS related equipment (from the permanently established CORS stations down to data CAD software packages) naturally gears the ministry to have their agents trained under the Trimble brand. Efficiency under a single brand will streamline the field-to-map production process for the hazard and environmental initiatives.

Training in GIS Principles/ArcGIS Software and OpenSource GIS Software
Training in GIS Principles/ArcGIS Software and OpenSource GIS Software. The Ministry of Physical Development currently has insufficient and inadequate GIS software to enable the ministry to perform the required production and modeling of spatial data. ArcGIS is the standard platform used for GIS data development and analysis. The cost of ArcGIS is prohibitive hence the training in open source software as a viable option to ARC GIS to offset the expense of ArcGIS software and licenses. Efficiency in using GIS as an evaluation tool, which provides the scientific basis for decision and policy making, allows relevant authorities to effectively manage natural resources, analyze trends and monitor geological changes.

LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is a remote sensing technology used for high accuracy terrain mapping. Airplanes equipped with LiDAR technology will fly over the island of Saint Lucia at low altitudes to get full coverage using this data collection technology. LiDAR has the ability to crate centimeter-level accuracy for terrain/topographic maps. The ministry's current topographic maps use aerial photograph which does not have the accuracy and does not account for distortions, such as tree cover. Such high level accuracy would provide better analysis for environmental monitoring concerns such as watershed management, large scale land movement, urban and rural development etc.

Printer, Printing Media And Storage, Training Material, Stationery and Incidentals
Although maps and spatial data can be shared and displayed electronically, printed material will be required in many cases as a means of distributing information to various types of stakeholders in disaster management and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This includes but is not limited to the production of large maps and posters for display in public places. Also necessary for training of ministry staff and other stake holders, public awareness activities etc. This is in support of the activities relating to the development of the GeoData platform, GIS/GPS related activities and GeoNode training.

Calendar Of Events

List of planned events.

About Saint Lucia

About Saint Lucia
The tropical island of Saint Lucia lies at latitude 13° 54' north and 60° 50' west of the Equator. One of the Windward Islands, it is located in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean archipelago and is approximately 21 miles south of Martinique and 90 miles northwest of Barbados. Its capital Castries (population 70,596) is situated to the northwest of the island. The Atlantic Ocean rims Saint Lucia's eastern shore while the Caribbean Sea lines the west coast which offers the calmest surf and finest beaches.

The official language spoken in Saint Lucia is English although many Saint Lucians also speak a French dialect, Creole (Kwyol). Creole is not just a patois or broken French, but a language in its own right, with its own rules of grammar and syntax. The language is being preserved by its everyday use in day-to-day affairs and by special radio programmes and news read entirely in Creole. In October, Saint Lucians celebrate their Creole heritage and language during the staging of the annual Jounen Kwyol Festival.

Physical Characteristics
The Island is approximately 238 sq. miles (616 sq. km), 27 miles long, 14 miles wide with a largely mountainous topography. A central mountain range runs the length of the island, with peaks ranging between 1000 and 3145 feet in elevation. Saint Lucia's landscape is a combination of high mountains, lush rainforests, low lying lands and beaches. Forests dominate the mountains, while jasmine, scarlet chenille and wild orchids provide splashes of colour to the lush green slopes. The two towering volcanic cones on the southwest coast, Gros Piton (797m) and Petit Piton (750m) are one of the Caribbean's most famous landmarks. The volcanic origin of the island provides visitors with an opportunity to visit a "drive-in volcano" and take a dip in the reputedly therapeutic Sulphur Springs.

The climate on island is tropical with temperatures ranging from 70 - 90 Fahrenheit. The rainy season is from June to November and the drier period between December and May. The Average rainfall is between 160-360cm depending on altitude and time of year.

The population is currently estimated at 172,570 with a workforce of about 65,000 and an annual population growth rate of approximately 2%.

Banking & Currency
Saint Lucian banks have a full range of banking and foreign currency services. Cash in local currency can be obtained by credit cards or bank cards through the ATM machines located at most banks. Normal banking hours are from 8: 00 a. m. to 2: 00 p. m. and some banks are open until 5: 00 p. m. on Friday. Banks at the Rodney Bay Marina are also open from 8: 00 a. m. until 12: 00 noon on Saturday.

Currency and Exchange Rate
The unit of currency used in Saint Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) but a wide range of currencies such as US$, Canadian dollar, Euro and British pounds are freely convertible in our banks. The EC dollar is fixed to the US dollar at the rate of US$1.00 = EC$2.70 and varies in value along with it against the other world currencies.

Immunization is not required unless coming from an infected area within six days of arrival, However, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid are recommended. Drinking water is safe from the tap and bottled mineral/distilled water is also available. There are several pharmacies in Castries, one on the Gros Islet Highway and one in Gablewoods Shopping Mall and in JQ Charles Mall Rodney Bay. Most hotels have "over the counter" medication, such as Aspirin and first aid facilities. All hotels have doctors either resident or available on call. A resident doctor's visit costs approx. US$ 15 (approx. EC$40 - EC$50). For a "call-out" visit it may cost more.

In an emergency, call 911 - there are five medical facilities which are:

Victoria Hospital - 758 452 2421/7059
Saint Jude's Vieux Fort - 758 454 6041
Soufriere - 758 459 7258/5001
Dennery 758 453 3310
Tapion Hospital - 758 459 2000

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