Asia Geospatial Forum 2013: Enhancing Collaboration

Asia Geospatial Forum 2013: Enhancing Collaboration

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The Asia Geospatial Forum 2013 brought together stakeholders of the geospatial industry to discuss and debate on APAC’s most pressing issues


From left to right: Y.B. Dato Dr. James Dawos Mamit, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia; Dr Do Tae-Ho, Deputy Minister for Housing & Land, Ministry of Land Infrastructure & Transport, South Korea; Chris Gibson, Vice President, Trimble; Matthew Smith, President, Hexagon Geosystems, APAC and Dr Mamit strikes the gong to inaugurate the conferencen

Convergence, integration and return on investment were the underlying theme at the Asia Geospatial Forum 2013 held recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With its theme ‘Regional Response to Global Challenges and Opportunities’, the forum witnessed high-level discussions, debates and presentations from experts on the region’s most pressing issues. A prominent trend visible at the conference was geospatial technology turning more and more solution centric with a clear vertical orientation. The hi-tech exhibition organised during the event was a big draw for the visitors.

Y.B. Dato Dr. James Dawos Mamit, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia, inaugurated the event. Delivering the inaugural address, he gave the example of the haze problem in Malaysia as a typical case where sharing of geospatial information between various countries could solve problems faster. “With climate change and natural disasters as two of the primary concerns of governments across the countries, global cooperation on sharing of geoinformation and use of technology is needed,” he said. Keynote speaker Dr Do Tae-Ho, Deputy Minister for Housing & Land, Ministry of Land Infrastructure & Transport, South Korea said geospatial technology was an integral part of government planning today and there was a high level of awareness about the technology’s effectiveness in his country.


From left to right: Gunjan Sahni, Graphics Solutions Business PPS APJ, Hewlett Packard Asia Pacific; Joseph Arezone, Senior Vice-President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, FARO Technologies; Brian Nicholls, Executive Director, AAM

At the plenary session, Lt. Kol. Ir. Hj. Abidin, Director of Planning, Coordination and Monitoring Division, Water Supply Dept, Malaysia, spoke on the benefits of geospatial technology in water supply and management. Gerundio C. Madueno, Undersecretary, Policy, Planning and External Affairs Office, Department of Agrarian Reform, Philippines, said data from National Mapping & Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) was helping his department in accomplishing reforms in agriculture.

Christian Carle
Demonstration of a drone at the exhibition

Trimble Vice President Chris Gibson identified construction as the biggest market in Asia. Stating that geospatial technology helped us to solve some of the biggest challenges of the humanity, Gibson said if implemented properly, it could offer economic breakthroughs, reduce environmental impact and ensure quality, safety, compliance. Sensor integration, real-time processing, extra storage from Big Data, connectivity via cloud computing and 3D modelling, and visualisation and integration were some of the advanced technology trends, he added.

Pointing out that the Asia Pacific region hosts about half the world’s population and yet comprises about 30% of total land mass, Matthew Smith, President, Hexagon Geosystems, APAC, Gibson said population pressure, urbanisation, growing energy demand and natural disasters were creating unprecedented opportunity for geospatial players in this region. Smart technology can help the region mitigate its problems and ensure growth.

Gunjan Sahni, Graphics Solutions Business PPS APJ, Hewlett Packard Asia Pacific, said customers want effective ways of communication.

Joseph Arezone, Senior Vice-President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, FARO Technologies, said the company wasn’t into geospatial till a few years back. Then three years ago, it launched a small, light and cheap laser scanner and changed the entire 3D laser scanning market. “The demand for 3D has gone beyond the engineering community and is creating new 3D communities while reshaping existing ones,” he said. Brian Nicholls, Executive Director, AAM, also spoke on transforming global challenges into geospatial opportunities and called for expansion of geospatial information content.

Another interesting discussion revolved around the estimated value of the global geospatial industry. According to various experts, the industry is estimated to have crossed $100 billion. Dr Do Tae-Ho pegged the estimated figure at $125 billion by 2015 growing at 11% per year from $74 in 2010. Graeme Kernich, Deputy CEO Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information, Australia, estimated the growth rate at 16% per annum with a growth value addition of $113 million per year.

Sessions on relevant topics such as National GIS Policy on SDI, Agro-Informatics and Precision Agriculture encouraged the participants to talk about novel applications of geospatial technology.

The session on Enterprise GIS reflected that GIS has to get integrated into enterprise information systems rather than trying to exist on its own.

The event was supported by the Department of Survey and Mapping, Vitenam, Geoinformatics & Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) and Singapore Land Authority. The three-day event saw a total of 607 participants from 26 countries, including the government, academia, users and a number of geospatial players. Government agencies like Ministry of Energy, Green technology and Water (KeTTHA), Ministry of Federal Territories; Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations (MOSTI), Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) partnered the event.