08 April 2011

Island-wide WiFi?

Today I saw some guys on a big lift in town attaching what looked like WiFi base stations to light posts on front-street. The the following press release came across my newsfeed: http://www.smartmeters.com/the-news/smart-grid-news/2112-infrax-supplying-wireless-infrastructure-to-bermuda.html. But it didn't say who the client is. City of Hamilton? Government? Belco for smart meters?

Infrax Systems is supplying the wireless broadband infrastructure that will enhance security and communication measures on the Island of Bermuda. The infrastructure will be comprised of approximately forty-five Infrax, TMAX 2000 modular base-station routers that will be used for multiple services including wireless Internet access for the residents and visitors.

17 March 2011

Thank You Survey Section

In a previous post, I wrote about aerial photos of Bermuda from 1940 and 1973.

However, I neglected to give the appropriate credit and thanks to the Bermuda Government Survey Section, which created the georegistered imagery. They did a lot of work to put that data together in a high-quality fashion. The Survey Section and their colleagues have done a superb job of making really good data available to Bermuda; it is an invaluable resource that can help us better understand our tiny coral outpost. I have to apologize to them for this omission!

The aerial photos and metadata are made available courtesy of the survey section, and are copyright the Bermuda Government. The photos and data may not be reproduced, etc. without their prior permission.

11 March 2011

Island-wide CCTV?

I've recently noticed CCTV cameras going up island-wide at key traffic junctions, e.g. Barnes Corner, foot of Trimingham Hill, etc. You can detect these by the appearance of a brand-new telephone pole with power lines running to it, and generally some sort of communications equipment: dish, directional antenna, etc. Invariably they all have a video camera attached, which is generally the smallest piece of all the equipment. And I don't think there has been any mention of this in the press or from the Government. Saw this today over the wires: (from this link)

Micro Technologies to install surveillance systems in Bermuda

Micro Technologies India Limited will install surveillance systems in Bermuda to cater for security through Micro ICCS International Command Control System including CCTV Cameras with 24/7 surveillance monitoring from a common centre point. This system will combine custom built hardware and a security system for the control of an unmanned location.

Bermuda is a group of beautiful islands flocked by tourists. The island will be much safer and secure with the implementation of this surveillance systems by the company.

08 February 2011

Bermuda Entrustment: 1968, 2005, and 2009

This blog entry summarizes the Bermuda Entrustment with the UK and provides download links to current and historical versions of the entrustment. These documents were provided by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and are provided on this blog under the UK Open Government License.

The Bermuda Entrustment (sometimes called the Deed or Letter of Entrustment) is the memo that describes what powers the UK Government has delegated to the Government of Bermuda. Bermuda is a dependent territory of the UK (formerly known as a colony), and as such, the UK is in charge of all of our external relations. However, when the current constitution was created in 1968, the UK delegated certain authority to the Bermuda Government, mostly around trade and commercial agreements.

Specifically, the entrustment states (shortened for this blog entry):

"In addition, ... the United Kingdom Government hereby delegate to the Bermuda Government ... executive authority to conduct external relations on behalf of the United Kingdom Government as follows:-

(a) Authority to negotiate and conclude trade agreements with other countries, whether bilateral or multilateral, relating solely to the treatment of goods.

(b) Authority to arrange or permit visits of up to thirty days for trade or commercial purposes ...

(c) Authority to negotiate and conclude agreements of purely local concern with any independent member of the Commonwealth or the United States of America...

(d) Authority to negotiate and conclude agreements for technical assistance or of a cultural or scientific nature with any independent member of the Commonwealth or the United States of America...

(e) Authority to negotiate and conclude agreements with other countries, whether bilateral or multilateral, relating to emigration from Bermuda to those countries and to emigrant labour schemes."

The Entrustment was updated in 2005 to specifically add authority for Bermuda to negotiate bilateral agreements about Tourism. Download the 2005 Amendment to the Bermuda Letter of Entrustment (PDF).

In 2009 the Entrustment was replaced with a new version, which tightens the UK's leash on Bermuda. Specifically, it removed the paragraph (c) authorizing Bermuda to make agreements of "purely local concern".

The original Entrustment requires Bermuda to inform the UK of Bermuda's activities under the agreement and provides that the UK may not permit it. However, the 2009 version is much more explicit about this and seems to put Bermuda on a tighter leash. The new version requires Bermuda to provide written reports of all activity under the Entrustment, and requires Bermuda to provide written copies of all agreements to the UK for approval before they are signed.

You can find more reports and data like this at the decouto.bm online Bermuda library.

27 December 2010

Bermuda Aerial Photos 1940 & 1973


Happy New Year (almost)!

Thanks to the Bermuda Government Survey Section and the National Museum of Bermuda, I've been able to obtain and put online high-resolution aerial photographs of Bermuda from 1940 and 1973. I've converted them into Google Maps KML tiles format which allows you to use a standard web browser to pan and zoom into the highest level of detail. In some cases this is under 1 meter (more detail than the Google satellite photos, for example). These photos, in combination with today's satellite imagery, are a valuable tool for seeing how Bermuda has developed over the past 70 years. All you have to do is count the numer of white roofs, and the amount of open space available.

These aerial photos and metadata are made available courtesy of the survey section, and are copyright the Bermuda Government. The photos and data may not be reproduced, etc. without their prior permission.

The page allows you to fade between the historical view and the current Google Earth satellite view using a slider in the top right-hand corner — to view just the historical aerial photo move the slider all the way to the right, like so:

For the technically curious, the original data was in MrSid format, I used MapTiler to convert the data, and the converted data is made available via Amazon S3. The converted data uses about 8 gigabytes of space (1 gigabyte for the 1940 data and 7 gigabytes for the 1973 data), and was converted and uploaded over the course of a few weeks using a great deal of patience.

Visit my website decouto.bm for more Bermuda data and my library of Bermuda documents.

20 December 2010

Bermuda Election Data On-line, updated

I've updated my on-line Bermuda elections data to include the 15 November 2010 Bye-Election. There you can browse elections results by date, constituency, or candidate, back to 1989.

29 November 2010

Frank Manning: Bermudian Politics in Transition

Manning book cover

I've scanned and uploaded a copy of Frank E. Manning's "Bermudian Politics in Transition:Race, Voting, and Public Opinion", from 1978. It is a study of Bermuda politics after the 1976 general election by Manning, a Canadian anthropologist who has written widely on Bermuda and the Caribbean. Download the PDF here

From inside the front cover:

Bermudian Politics in Transition explores the complex process that gave Bermuda's black Opposition a fifty per cent gain of parliamentary seats in 1976, split the ranks of Government, toppled the Premier, sparked a major race riot in 1977 and generated a mass momentum that endangers a white- controlled colonial order that has endured for more than three centuries. Based on survey research as well as intensive fieldwork, the book focuses on two areas: 1) trends in voting and party preference; 2) public opinion on the principal issues that have occupied Bermudian political attention since the inception of party politics in the 1960's.


Frank Manning has given us a book that has been long overdue in Bermuda: A detailed analysis of contemporary political thought and action.

Bermudian Politics in Transition will be compelling reading for anybody who is the least bit interested in Bermuda politics (and that seems to include everybody these days!), and who wants to learn more about what's what and why.

It will also be an indispensable tool for political strategists and pundits alike, unearthing some interesting, occasionally startling, but always enlightening insights into where Bermudians, the voters, stand on the issues of the day.

This book could literally prompt significant changes in party platforms before the next election.

It contains a veritable gold mine of information which goes a long way to explaining why the PLP picked up five more seats and increased its popular support in 1976, and conversely why the UBP lost those five seats and slipped in popular support.

Frank Manning's most fascinating find - and his surveys uncover plenty - has to be the pivotal role black women played in the PLP's stride forward.

His surveys also put paid to the popular notion that increased support only came from young blacks who were voting for the first time.

They also reveal long-suspected discontent among the white middle class with the direction in which the UBP appeared headed going into the '76 election: background to the movement within the party that toppled their leader, and Premier, Sir John Sharpe.

Bermudian Politics in Transition sets an exciting stage for the next election which could make or break the PLP .

As Frank Manning details, it was their shift to a more 'respectable' image in 1976 - toned-down socialistic rhetoric and emphasis on spiritual values and family life - which won them support from new places.

On the other hand, all is not lost for the UBP. Mr. Manning's book also clearly documents how they can shore up initial support and make inroads into growing support for the Opposition.

It may be, as Mr. Manning's surveys show, that voters believe their Government is only as good as its Opposition and they only wanted a more competitive Parliament.

And, after all, it is the voters of this country who will ultimately decide; and it's refreshing to see what they think for a change - which is what this book is all about.

Bermudian Politics in Transition is a welcome addition to any bookshelf of Bermuda history and the first in what I hope is a long line of its kind.

It also represents a great deal of hard work by an independent outsider whose objectivity makes this work that much more valuable.

John Barritt
Editor, Bermuda Sun