The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has officially launched a new computer software which promises to be a useful resource for planning development and infrastructure in the region.
The Population Geographic Information system, or PopGIS, is a user-friendly system that combines population information with maps and graphics.
SPC's Phil Bright, who was one of the developers of the software, says the system will help governments, statisticians and planners more effectively disseminate their data to see visually where to focus their work.
"As soon as you can integrate a whole series of different ways of visualising some data - tables, some will be comfortable with using graphs, some will be comfortable with looking at maps, you can actually explain a lot about data in a single go. And particularly when you're looking at a large number, if you're looking at ten thousand villages - if you can put that on a map and look at three or four different colours, you can very quickly tell a story and see a picture ."
PopGIS was initially developed for the federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Samoa but Phil Bright says it can be customised to suit any other country or region.