In 2014 Duhok started digitizing all cadastral maps of the governorate using the data of various directorates: Statistics, Agriculture, Urban Planning, Real Estate, Municipalities, and Duhok Municipality. No data sharing rules or regulations existed. There was an obvious need to develop a policy for mapping, data collection and sharing on different levels of the Duhok Governorate. On the other hand, the existing GIS data at directorates are being managed using various programmes; this needs to be standardized at least at governmental level.
To do so, the Duhok government thought it essential to establish a GIS Centre in Duhok Governorate headquarters close to those with decision-making power to develop a policy for data sharing and GIS operationalization and standardization in all directorates.
The MASAR-VNG International team worked with the Duhok Vice Governors and Directors of 11 directorates on the existing GIS regulations regarding the GIS system on the level of Government capacities, and assessed the existing GIS projects while reviewing the available spatial/ urban planning tools. The MASAR team did a feasibility study to look into the needs and conditions for a GIS platform. On the basis of aa memorandum of understanding with the Duhok governorate MASAR decided to support the establishment of a GIS Centre connecting the GIS units in the various directorates.
MASAR further supported with tailor-made GIS trainings for the staff of the centre and 15 relevant directorates. A tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed among VNG international, Duhok Governorate and the Department of Information Technology to connect the GIS Centre with the Department of Information Technology of the Council of Ministers of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and to work on policies of sharing and securing data. In May 2022 the GIS centre was officially opened and handed over to the Duhok government.
Setting up this GIS centre, which is the first one in the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq, is very much in line with , the Kurdistan Regional Government’s efforts in becoming an electronic government in order to provide fast and secure access to information.