The shoreline and infrastructure assets are key elements of daily life in South Tarawa. Until now the accurate mapping and monitoring of these things has been undertaken using basic survey equipment and low accuracy GPS equipment. A new high precision state of the art GPS equipment has been purchased to improve the accuracy of measurement and recording of information in South Tarawa. The equipment was put to use on Tuesday 10th February with the first training workshop completed.
The equipment, worth in excess of $40,000, has been bought under the KAP III program and will be made available to the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU), the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development (MELAD) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB) to vastly improve the speed and accuracy of the survey work they undertake. It is expected that the MPWU will use the equipment for monitoring shoreline erosion and will be able to quantify erosions rates to identify areas most of need of reinforcement. The PUB will use the equipment to accurately locate the water, electricity and sewer pipes, cables and fittings so that they can be relocated if they become buried over time. The MELAD officers will be able to use the equipment to more accurately define land boundaries and remark boundaries where necessary.
Part of the purchase included a week of training by Mr Rob van Manen, a GPS expert from Brisbane Australia. Rob described the new GPS system as being similar to that many fisherman might use and still used the same satellites but was far more accurate by being able to track more satellites and it was able to correct for the inaccuracies found in basic GPS units used for fishing. Rob praised the staff from MPWU, PUB and MELAD who undertook the training and noted they had all learned how to use the equipment very quickly and the days in the field with each ministry to show how to use the equipment in their normal daily tasks had been very productive.