* Will soon sign a MoU with internationally reputable RCMRD * We want to win govt confidence - Molefhi

Botswana Institute of Geometics (BIG) whose primary role is to deal with land surveying is positioning itself and its members for huge government tenders worth billions of Pula that have eluded them in the past.

The Institute leadership is working around the clock engaging key stakeholders who could assist them to obtain the highest professional standards.

Preparations are at an advanced stage for them to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD).

The institute is also pushing for an all-encompassing law - the Geometics Act -which will be inclusive of upcoming disciplines due to the latest technology. The professionals are currently guided by the Land Survey Act, which is limited in some respects.

Surveying has evolved to what is called Geometics and BIG has categorised its membership of over 126 companies into four key disciplines namely cadastral surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetric, remote sensing and GIS.

In an interview with Botswana Guardian, BIG President, Olebogeng Molefhi said they are hoping that working with RCMRD will enable them to win government's confidence so that they can begin to get big projects, as they will be much more efficient.

"It is our prayer and hope that with RMCRD partnership, that we hope will be signed off by end of this month, we will be able to be in a position to do national projects.”

The organisation was formerly called Botswana Surveying and Mapping Association as it brought together professionals in the surveying discipline, which has since evolved into what is now known as Geometics.

The profession has evolved due to technical changes because they were initially data collectors and mappers. According to Molefhi, theirs is one of the oldest professions because maps have always been used even during ancient times.

"Because land was critical, people were fighting over land. Surveyors were important to show boundaries and bring peace amongst nations fighting for territory," he said, adding that with evolving technology, they are able to present and analyse data.

Molefhi said they saw the need to approach RCMRD because they deal with mapping. "We felt that they could help us lobby our government to get to work that can benefit local professionals”.

The MoU will also enable access to RCMRD training at reasonable prices. According to Molefhi, RCMRD is also good in instrument calibration as all instruments have to be calibrated at one point. He however pointed out that currently, it is very difficult to find calibrators in the country.

"Of course we have some few vendors, but everyone is calibrating his own brand, but with new arrangement we will be able to get any kind of expertise that can calibrate any brand at reasonable prices," he said.

The most important thing, is for them to secure business as we have several geometic related programmes that government runs.

Molefhi is proud that they were able to influence the tendering process where government required surveyors to survey over 60 000 plots within the 100 000 plots that are to be allocated before the end of the financial year.

“We are part of that; we are facilitating that process as about 26 companies are involved.”