After the Covid-19 health crisis had delayed the relocation of the National Geographic Institute (IGN), 6 July marked the official inauguration of the new buildings.
The IGN will reside in the Renaissance Campus in Brussels, next to the Royal Military School (RMA). While the IGN physically moved during the pandemic, they delayed official opening until this point.
IGN and RMA have a long history of collaboration, dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries when they shared a space in the La Cambre Abbey. The RMA decided to move to the Renaissance Campus as the gradual digitisation of the military progressed into the 21st century. After 150 total years in the Abbey, the IGN is now rejoining the RMA.
"It is with great enthusiasm that we have seized the opportunity of this relocation to embark on a profound transformation," said Ingrid Vanden Berghe, IGN's general administrator, to the Belga News Agency.
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The IGN's digital maps, photos and geographical information prove invaluable to Belgium's defence, according to Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder. Having the two agencies so close to each other once again will increase access to reliable geodata. For example, the IGN provides 3D maps which can be used to spot obstacles like wind turbines or other large structures. The maps are then used to determine if the area is safe for aviation.
"They very concretely support better crisis and disaster management and help reduce their impact on citizens and society," Dedonder said of IGN's role with RMA.