New GPS System for Bosnia and Herzegovina Launched

With the stroke of a computer key Peter Sørensen, Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative, on Tuesday launched a new network of permanent Global Positioning System stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The GPS network has been funded by the European Union through IPA-2007, in the amount of one million Euros (1.96 million KM), and by the BiH state budget in the amount of half a million Euros (980,000 KM).

In the presence of senior government officials and industry professionals at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo, Ambassador Sørensen typed the start-up command and the new GPS system went live. The GPS system represents Phase I of a spatial information services project directed by the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs, which is responsible for coordinating all geodetic and geodesy-connected activities at the state level. The project is designed to raise the performance of courts and upgrade local land administration, as well as develop the property market in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by improving spatial planning capacities.

Civil Affairs Minister Sredoje Nović said that establishing the network of permanent GPS stations has been one of the largest undertakings of the current Council of Ministers. Ambassador Sørensen emphasized that the launch of the project means that Bosnia and Herzegovina can now be aligned with neighboring countries and will be able to integrate in European Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

The project, which has been realized across all BiH municipalities, will bring a wide range of benefits and have a long-lasting impact in various areas, including municipal administration, statistics, transportation, agriculture, the property market, and forest management. “The new network will make a real difference to citizens because it means that from now on it will be possible to resolve land disputes more quickly, Ambassador Sørensen said. “Issuing documents related to land ownership will be more efficient and inconsistencies in land registers will be eliminated.”

He said the project is an excellent example of how Bosnia and Herzegovina can work together with the EU in order to move further along the path of European integration, and he drew attention to the excellent relationship that had been built up between the EU Delegation and officials on the BiH side in order to bring the first phase of the project to a successful conclusion.

Phase I, Establishing a Network of permanent GPS stations – BiHPOS, is a precondition for accurate measurement and land parceling. Using this technology, registration of land ownership will be updated, and inconsistencies in land books and cadastre in municipal administrations and local courts will be eliminated.

Phase II involves sophisticated map making using aerial photography in order to provide a complete and functional overview of the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with clearly visible and proportionally marked land structures, agricultural potential, forests, roads, cities, and factories.

This will also allow statistical data to be collected more efficiently and more accurately. “A further 1.3 million Euros (2.54 million KM) has been allocated from the IPA fund for 2008 for Phase II of the project,” Sørensen said. “This Friday the first planes will begin aerial photography.”