Developed in just six months, the map is the first of its kind in the country.

JAKARTA: Greenpeace Indonesia has launched what could be the first interactive real-time digital map of the archipelago's forests.

Developed in six months, the map has been named “Kepo Hutan”, which literally translates to “nosey about forests”.

The data on the map is compiled from various official sources and presented in a shape-file format that is useful for providing data on a specific location. For example, the map has the potential to identify the owners of the plantations where the fires are burning.

Some of the data in the map will be made available to the public for the first time.

“For example the names of concession holders are not available publicly,” said Longgena Ginting, Director of Greenpeace Indonesia. “We have to search the data from the environment and forestry ministry and include them in the map.”

Currently, the country uses numerous forest concession maps, which results in overlaps and confusion that blunted the efforts of law enforcement agencies to prosecute alleged perpetrators. The haze last year was one of the worst on record, with more than 130,000 hotspots detected, coming at a cost of US$16 billion to Indonesia.

However, this might soon change, with legal experts saying Greenpeace’s map can be used as evidence in court.

"This map is based on other maps that are legitimate because they are produced by the government,” said Bambang Widjojanto, a law expert and former Indonesian Anti-Corruption Agency Commissioner. “This map is structured, over-laid and presented in one format. Therefore it is can be used as evidence."

For almost two decades, the haze created by Indonesian forest fires has periodically choked the air of neighbouring countries, affecting millions of people in Singapore, Malaysia and even Thailand.


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