GIS as a technology has been used as a planning and management tool in Bhutan since the early 1990s in various fields, starting with applications in the Forestry department and was subsequently followed by its introduction in the Ministry of Agriculture under the Land Use Planning project. The use of geo-information began much earlier with the establishment of the Survey of Bhutan in the early 1960s as the national topographic mapping organization. Since then many other agencies/organization have established small GIS units.The GIS establishment within the country has grown steadily over the last decade to the point where there is now a major investment in both GIS technology and GIS related data.

In the year 2000, the government realized the importance and the need for proper coordination amongst GIS users and systems and thus directed that appropriate institutional and technical arrangements should be put in place to address the situation. The Royal Government had directed the mandate of GIS coordination to be placed within the Centre Statistical Organization (CSO) under Planning Commission Secretariatwhere working committee was constituted with representatives from various user organizations and the coordinating office was called the “National Agency for GIS Coordination” (NAGISC). The office was establish to address the perceived problems associated with the orderly development of a national GIS infrastructure in the country. Though this body undertook many initiatives, it was generally perceived that the new mandate lacked relevance to its primary mandate therefore impeding it from being an effective coordination body.

However, in the year 2003, with the restructuring of the government, the CSO was delinked from the Planning Commission as the National Statistical Bureau. Subsequently in November 2003, the CCM directed that the National GIS infrastructure coordinating role to be placed with Department of Survey & Land Records under Ministry of Agriculture then. As a consequence appropriate institutional arrangements has been made to enable the function to be realized and a unit within the DSLR was created which is called Centre for GIS Coordination (CGISC) mainly to function as a hub for all GIS related activities and also a National level GIS Coordination Committee (NGCC) was formed to function as the principal coordinating committee to oversee the formulation of strategies, plans and programs aimed at implementing a Nationwide GIS infrastructure in Bhutan.

Role of CGISC

1. The CGISC shall function as the secretariat for National GIS Coordination Committee (NGCC)
2. It shall maintain the National repository of GIS data.
3. Initiate and coordinate workshop/seminars and conferences to provide exposure to the GIS user community in Bhutan.
4. It shall promote the discovery and dissemination of geospatial data.
5. Provides and mobilize technical backstopping to the GIS users and shall develop its capacity to do so.
6. It shall organize the meetings of the NGCC and other working groups on regular basis.
7. The coordinating unit will also monitor the distribution and usage of GIS software to ensure optimal utility and report to NGCC recommending any required measures.

Role of NGCC

The role of National GIS Coordination Committee is to create an enabling framework by promulgating appropriate policies
1. The NGCC shall function as the principal coordinating committee to oversee the formulation of strategies, plans and programmes aimed at implementing a Nationwide GIS infrastructure in Bhutan.
2. It shall bring out the policy recommendations on geoinformation issues.
3. Authorized CGISC to establish Technical Working Group(s) to resolve technical and other specific issues such as data standards, data exchange mechanism.
4. It shall provide necessary support and guidance to the CGISC and the GIS community in the country.

Technical Working Group (TWG)

The technical working group is composed purely of technical personnel who are directly involved in the daily operation of the system and are thorough with the intricacies of the system. The group consists of representatives from all operational GIS setup.
The CGISC as and when required may form a GIS Technical Working Group under the approval of NGCC.

Role of Technical Working Group

1. It shall constantly monitor the technical aspects of the changing needs of the GIS user community in Bhutan and address them accordingly.
2. Responsible for the development of proper data standards, data models and ensure adherence to the standards set.
3. It shall also make recommendations for providing adequate network infrastructure for online dissemination of geospatial data.

CGISC member agencies

1. National Land Commission (NLC)
2. Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC)
3. Ministry of Works & Human Settlement (MoWHS)
4. ThimphuThromde (TT)
5. National Environment Commission (NEC)
6. Department of Information & Technology (DIT), MoIC
7. Department of Hydropower & Power Systems (DHPS), MoEA
8. Department of Hydro-Met Services (DHMS), MoEA
9. Department of Geology & Mines (GDM), MoEA
10. Ministry of Education (MoE)
11. Royal Audit Authority (RAA)
12. Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB)
13. National Statistical Bureau (NSB)
14. Bhutan Power Corporation Limited (BPCL)
15. Bhutan Telecom Limited (BTL)
16. National Soil Service Centre (NSSC), MoAF
17. Department of Forest & Park Services (DoFPS), MoAF
18. Forest Resources Management Division (FRMD), MoAF
19. National Centre for Animal Health, Serbithang, MoAF
20. Department of Disaster Management (DDM), MoHCA
21. World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
22. Royal Society & Protection Nature (RSPN)
23. National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL)
24. Ministry of Health (MoH)
25. SamdrupJongkharThromde
26. College of Natural Resource (CNR), Lobesa
27. Sherubtse College, Kanglung
28. College of Science & Technology (CST), Phuntsholing
29. JigmeNamgyel Engineering College (JNEC), Deothang
30. Royal Thimphu College (RTC), Thimphu