Monday, April 11, 2011

Fazilka residents join hands to map town, boost tourism

Raakhi Jagga,
Indian Express, 11 April 2011

Keeping up with the technology era, Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF) have joined hands with Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College (GNDEC), Ludhiana to prepare a digital map of Fazilka and make it available to the public, through the Internet. The effort is aimed at promoting tourism in this town.

Fazilka will thus be the first among tier-II cities to have a digital map, claimed GWAF authorities. GWAF and GNDEC's joint efforts will place India's smallest big town actually on Global Map network. Geeta Softech would be the local host to conduct the map party event for the same. Project mentor, Prof (Dr) HS Rai enumerated the advantages and benefits of a digital map. Prof Rai explained, "The project is called Open Street Map. Open street maps are free editable maps made with the help of the GPS by anyone at anytime. These maps allows us to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on the globe. Through unrestricted access to data, such digital maps empower the citizens, ultimately resulting in numerous innovations."

Further emphasizing on the concept of a digital map and map party, he informed that this project will help the government and the NGOs in their social welfare schemes, to provide them geographical information for their projects. It will also promote tourism of this small border town.

Giving further details about the event, Navdeep Asija, Secretary (Admin), GWAF informed, "We have selected 20 people belonging to different domains, like draftsmen, farmers, people from defence services, budding civil engineering and architecture students and map lovers; each one will be having a GPS device to capture the ground realities, landmarks, eating outlets, hotels, restaurants, and other related attributes as a part of mapping party, further information obtained by all shall be combined and uploaded." Geeta Softech Fazilka would be acting as a facility provider.

"There are hundreds of active mappers today, but since the concept is fairly new to India, it is fast catching up, and we are happy to associate ourself with the great cause for our city beautiful," said Vinod Kumar, Director Geeta Softech. Interestingly, all data generated will be available in public domain, which may be used by anybody, the way they like, without bearing the burden of any charge. The information will be available on the website .

Fazilka city is one of the hotspots on the border area for tourism in the Malwa region of Punjab, for its original art and culture, rural tourism, black buck sanctuary and border retreat. Such information will help visitors at large. And in the era of technological advancement, it is a welcome step, said Dr Bhupinder Singh, Patron GWAF.

Free training shall be given and each participant will be honoured with Certificate of Appreciation, he added. Fazilka is famous for its handmade jutti, sweet treat-Tosha, dial-a-rickshaw concept and much more.

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