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Satellite technology used in Tongan election

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Satellite technology has been used in helping to define voting districts put in place for the first time for the recent election held in the Kingdom of Tonga. The election was held on Thursday, November 25.

The technology was utilized by the  Royal Constituency Commission tasked with the responsibility of organizing voting districts throughout the country.

The Commission created an electoral boundaries map that defined the voting districts, based on the distribution of population.

Mr. Richard Atelea Kautoke, head of the GIS Unit of the Ministry of the Lands, Survey, and Natural Resources, said that the Commission initiated the election district boundaries map as the definitive document that would advise registered of their polling stations.

Mr. Kautoke was in Fiji as a participant in the 2010 Pacific Islands Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) Conference currently being held in Suva, Fiji.

He said that the Commission requested his unit to reinforce the boundaries map by defining its electoral lines using GIS technology.

The GIS was used in Tonga through satellite images to produce a “highly exact technical map” to satisfy Commission requirements to ensure that voting districts were precisely defined.

AusAid, that was responsible for monitoring the election requested further information to be put on the GIS map that would show the exact locations of the polling stations, the amount of voters and candidates  in each district.

Also using GIS in elections, but this time in Fiji,  SOPAC is assisting the  Fiji Election Office also using the technology in developing an asset management system.  It is being used to map all polling stations in the field and in listing the equipment available at each of the stations.

Caption: Richard Katoke points towards the GIS Tonga voting distric boundaries map used in the election.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:59  


Kim Hagen

On 2 April, 2007 the Solomon Islands were hit by an 8.1 Magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. The tsunami, in particular, wrought extensive damage amongst communities inhabiting the western part of the country, and was responsible for 50 of the 52 casualties. Ghizo Island was one of the islands hit the hardest. The Gilbertese ethnic minority living on Ghizo suffered from the disastrous impacts of the hazards; a disproportionally high number of Gilbertese people died and those who survived faced large difficulties in trying to cope with the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. One of the main findings of research carried out on Ghizo in 2011, 2012, and 2013 was that, as a result of learning from these experiences, the Gilbertese survivors made changes in their socio-cultural fabric to make themselves more resilient to future disasters.

This paper presents an account of how differences in ethnic communities’ responses to hazards faced shaped differences in their trajectories of recovery. To aid the understanding of the findings presented, the context of research and methodology used are briefly described below. It is followed by an account of the differences in responses between the Melanesian ethnic majority and the Gilbertese ethnic minority, and the implications these differences had for the longer-term socio-cultural recovery of the Gilbertese survivors. The final section presents the conclusion along with recommendations for research and developing effective disaster risk reduction strategies.

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