Advancing geospatial technology in the Caribbean with Prof Bheshem Ramlal

Advancing geospatial technology in the Caribbean with Prof Bheshem Ramlal

In this thought-provoking episode of Mapping The Conversations, host Valrie Grant engages with Professor Bheshem Ramlal, a name synonymous with geospatial brilliance in the Caribbean. The discussion uncovers the professor's transformative journey within the realm of geospatial sciences and the uncharted possibilities maps offer in understanding our dance with planet Earth. Listeners will voyage through a narrative of discovery, innovation, and dedication with one of the Caribbean's geospatial pioneers.

Dr Ramlal recounts his personal voyage from aspirations in civil engineering and surveying into the fascinating world of geospatial information technologies; a journey beginning in the nascent stages of GIS to his pivotal role in the Caribbean's geospatial development. The conversation dives into the establishment and potential of the state-of-the-art Geospatial Observation Center, funded by the government of Mexico, and how it stands to revolutionize data accessibility and environmental and technological goals in the Caribbean. The episode wraps with insights into emerging geospatial trends and a rousing call to students and professionals to embrace the boundless career opportunities within geospatial sciences.

About the Guest

Dr Bheshem Ramlal is a distinguished professor of geospatial information engineering at the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine. His career spans several decades, with a focus on geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and land information systems. Dr Ramlal has held various roles including that of a teaching assistant, researcher, and lecturer. His contributions in the academic sphere include developing graduate programs in geoinformatics, enhancing geospatial technology education, and leading pivotal projects like the geospatial observation center. His expertise is recognized across the Caribbean, where he has facilitated numerous training programs and influenced public policy and practice within the geospatial field.

Key takeaways

  • The Geospatial Observation Center offers unprecedented access to geospatial data products, training, and resources, catalyzing support for addressing Caribbean environmental and developmental challenges.
  • Collaborative international initiatives, like those from the government of Mexico, play a vital role in advancing geospatial landscapes and knowledge sharing, with wide-reaching global impacts.
  • Geospatial technology is steadily infusing into daily life, becoming as common as mobile technology. It promises a future where spatial understanding is embedded in all facets of society.
  • Dr Ramlal's academic philosophy emphasizes integrating geospatial competencies in engineering and other disciplines to foster sustainable problem-solving in the Caribbean.
  • For students and young professionals, geospatial sciences offer diverse career paths, and a geospatial education can augment various fields, increasing employability and expertise.


  • "Everything that happens, happens somewhere... geospatial is like salt, it's in everything." – Dr Bheshem Ramlal
  • "We have to look after our own best interests and make sure that we take care of our challenges by using as much of the indigenous talents that we do have." – Dr Bheshem Ramlal
  • "We will not have a knight in shining armor coming to save us." – Dr Bheshem Ramlal
  • "The trend is towards people being very comfortable, and it is incorporating and infused into their everyday lives... you don’t even realize how much of what you’re consuming is geospatial." – Dr Bheshem Ramlal
  • "Finding yourself in almost any niche that you are interested in... you could certainly go on to do a geospatial program that is going to complement what you're already doing." – Dr Bheshem Ramlal
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