BECQ holds demonstration for new app


The Bureau of Environmental or Coastal Quality demonstrated yesterday their new web application to the public, reducing if not totally eliminating conflicts in information between government agencies and land developers.

The website application, or web app is called the Public Permitting App. The PPA is an interactive map that shows what can and cannot be done to a specific site, should anyone be interested in developing the area. Already included in the map are information acquired from different government agencies, such as water pipes of the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., among others.

Robbie Greene, GIS specialist of BECQ, shares that the app was created to provide a single source of land information for the public so that conflicts in information is less likely to occur.

“Because we have so many consultants and developers right now that are not necessary familiar with the regulations and the processes that they have to go through to get permits, [the app] allows them to access all the information that they need for the permitting process,” said Greene. “It also makes sure that the applicant ant the regulatory agency are both using the same information, which has been a huge stumbling block in the past.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration representative to BECQ Rachel Bouchillon shared the application could not be downloaded to a smartphone, but could be accessed through a website or through a smartphone’s browser.

“This app is supposed to be a one-stop shop for government agencies, business developers, and just the public in general that is interested in finding information about permitting considerations in the CNMI,” said Bouchillon.

Bouchillon shared if the need arises, a mobile application may be developed.

The application utilizes the Geographic Information System, a computer system for displaying data related to the earth’s surface that was previously captured, stored, and checked. Greene shares there are many apps that could be utilized by both the public and government agencies.

“The shoreline access guide is really useful because it tells people where you can access the beach, what that beach has in terms of amenities, what the beach is used for, and all that good stuff,” said Greene.

“We have a lagoon news viewer. We spent some time with all the different marine sports operators, fishermen, windsurfers, etc. to try and figure out where the most uses and interactions among uses is going on, so if anyone wants to identify a route for a dinner cruise or something like that, they can go here and just see all the different routes,” he added.

Greene mentioned a bunch of other apps, such as visuals of coral bleaching sites in the CNMI, visuals of scenes from when Typhoon Soudelor hit, among many others that can be accessed through the website.

Clicking on the link under “Interactive DCRM APC MAP” in through any browser would provide access to the web app.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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