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GCS President: Lack of Organization of the Survey Activities in the Kingdom Underlies the Waste of Funds
15 October 2017
GCS President H.E Dr. Abdul Aziz Al-Sa'ab has emphasized that the absence of organization, control and supervision of the survey and geospatial information activities in the Kingdom is causing redundancy and a waste of efforts and funds as a direct result of the fact that each related organization has developed an independent geospatial database of its own differing in its specifications and reference standard from those of the other organizations. The result is a lack of data compatibility, data organization and a difficulty in the access and effective exchange of data in a manner that would ensure data accuracy and security. 
Speaking on the side lines of a ceremony headed by Mayor of the Eastern Province, Eng. Fahad Al-Jubair to mark the launching of the Geographic Explorer Application for Smartphones, Al-Saab added that GCS has taken several measures aimed at cutting back on spending and fostering integration with some stakeholders in order to minimize the waste of resources as a result of repeated effort. He said Saudi Aramco was contacted regarding hydrographic data covering most of the Saudi waters in the Red Sea and the Arab Gulf and,thanks to their positive response, we will soon begin to receive the data from them, pointing out that the move has resulted in saving a lot of public funds in addition saving the effort and time needed to produce hydrographic survey data for the Kingdom. He said that contacts are also afoot with the General Authority for Statistics for the linkage of statistical information with geospatial information, with the Ministry of Transport for exchanging information on the road network and with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs for the exchange of geo-information. The GCS president said that the survey and geospatial information vision is keeping pace with the objectives of the national transformation program 2020 and the KSA Vision 2030 in order to make sure that redundancy in the execution of projects is avoided, in addition to a cut back on government spending spent on building and operation projects, optimum use of resources, fostering the integrated use of the geospatial information system among government agencies, encouraging and protecting investments in the geospatial sector and making sure that easy, integrated and secure ways are used in the provision of services.
Al-Saab explained that Saudi Geological Survey(SGS) was also contacted to discuss the prospect of making the historical aerial photographs in their possession available to the GCS to be used in a historical documentation of natural and cultural features. The idea was well-received by SGS, he said, who actually passed the images on to us to be converted to a digital format making them fit for use in the integrated survey work system. He said coordination with the Ministry of Transport is aimed at an effective exchange of geospatial images for the update of the road network, along with the linkage of statistical and geospatial information in coordination with the General Authority for Statistics.
Al-Saab said that all studies and initiatives have emphasized the need for the organization, control and supervision of the survey and geospatial information sector in the Kingdom and that the digital transformation process needs to be directed and rationalized and  accelerated for the governance and development of the infrastructure of the survey and geospatial information sector and also to increase the contribution of the private sector, drawing on the best international practices.

Assistant Deputy Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs for Land and Survey, Dr.  Mohammed Al-Rajhi, said there is partnership and coordination among the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MOMRA), Saudi Geological Survey(SGS), the General Commission for Survey(GCS) and King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to provide an information platform that can be used by all agencies and organizations. 
Dr. Al-Rajhi said that the main partner  with regard to land-related information with whom the users have daily dealings is, however, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), who is responsible for managing the justice side, whereas the role of MOMRA is confined to the technical side which has to do with land registration. He noted that there are 11 advantages that people can gain from committing themselves to land registration.
Mayor of the Eastern Province, Eng. Fahad Al-Jubair, said in his address that the Municipality has launched a package of electronic services to minimize the number of visits made by the public to the Municipality. He said the latest among those services is the Geographic Explorer Application for Smartphones which enables users to review the digital map on the Internet. He said that search and inquiry are also possible through this application, using spatial data or data attributes. The application also supports many other features including determining a user’s current location, inquiring about nearby (hawli) features and services, inquiring about all the data contained in the digital map and inquiring about all features and services such as educational, religious and recreational services, as well as  conducting searches to find specific neighborhoods, streets or land parcels. 
Eng. Al-Jubair added that the Municipality has attached great importance to the implementation of the e-services made available to users to enable them to follow up and finalize their transactions with ease and convenience. The package of services launched Included electronically updating the title deeds, the survey plan service, which makes the electronic issuance of survey plans for planned or non-planned land parcels possible, in addition to the land sorting and duplexing service which can be done electronically through the electronic sorting service without having to go to the Municipality. Eng. Al-Jubair urged the public to make the best of the electronic services provided by the Municipality. ​
Alyaom Newspaper, 13-4-2017, Dammam, ​​Muhammad Al S​uliman

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