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Conference Report: MAP ASIA 2007


The sixth annual Map Asia conference was held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia from August 14-16, 2007. The conference, which witnessed a gathering of more than 1000 delegates over a period of three days, was able to successfully realise its objective, that of bringing together all the stakeholders (from Asia and rest of the world), representing the various links of the geospatial value chain, on one platform in order to facilitate interaction, discussion and possible collaborations among them. Malaysia, which is celebrating its 50th year of independence, was chosen as the host nation as a means to attain this objective owing to its strategic location and growing importance in the economic life of Asia.

This year GIS Development organised Map Asia in partnership with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Malaysia. JUPEM and MacGDI were the co-partners for the event. The inaugural ceremony witnessed an august gathering of eminent dignitaries. The enchanting performance by a group of Malaysian artists at the beginning of the ceremony set the mood for the three day event. Y. Bhg. Datuk Suboh B. Mohd. Yassin, Secretary General, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Malaysia delivered the welcome address. The keynote address was given by Dr. K Kasturirangan, Member of Parliament, Republic of India. Y B Dato’ Seri Azmi Khalid, Minister, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Malaysia graced the occasion by delivering the inaugural address. The opening ceremony came to an end with the Vote of Thanks by Dr. M.P Narayanan, President, GIS Development.

The Map Asia 2007 Exhibition, inaugurated by Y B Dato’ Seri Azmi Khalid on the opening day of the conference, was spread over an area of more than 1500 square metre and hosted several key vendors of the geospatial industry from Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. It received a total of about 550 visitors, including large number of professionals from government agencies, private organisations, and academic institutions. The exhibition, therefore, gave an opportunity to the members of the geomatics industry to showcase their products, services and expertise to a targeted audience representing the geospatial user community. A total of 46 exhibitors, including NRE, MaCGDI, DigitalGlobe, ESRI, Bentley Systems, HP, Leica Geosystems and Ionic Software Inc., to name a few, participated in the exhibition. ESRI, DigitalGlobe and Fugro EarthData also conducted technology tracks to promote their newest products as well as to increase awareness about the latest technologies developed by them.

‘Maponomics’, an intelligently coined term, was the theme of Map Asia 2007 keeping in view the vital role being played by geospatial technologies in shaping the modern businesses and economies, not just in Asia but all over the world. The conference comprised four keynote sessions, which were:

  • Asian Economic: The Spatial Perspective
  • Infrastructure Development and Engineering
  • Technology Trends
  • ROI in Geospatial Technology Applications

Well known speakers and top ranking officials from the government, industry and academia delivered their keynote presentations to a packed house. The presentations, which were insightful, informative as well as thought provoking, opened the door for future deliberations.

Workshops on LiDAR (organised by AAMHatch, Malaysia) and Spatial Data Infrastructure (organised by MaCGDI) added value to the prestigious event. The conference also hosted 13 technical sessions. The broad topics on which presentations were delivered are as follows:

  • Earth Resources Management
  • Photogrammetry and 3D Visualisation
  • Web and Internet GIS
  • Surveying and GPNS
  • Space Programme and Remote Sensing
  • Water Resources
  • Disaster Mitigation and Management
  • Education, Demographics and Energy
  • Land Information and Infrastructure Management System
  • Urban and Town Planning
  • Marine and Coastal GIS
  • Technology: Trends and Applications
  • Environment, Forestry and Precision Farming

The wide ranging themes attracted plenty of listeners and the presentations were well appreciated by the audience.

Students also got an opportunity to showcase their work in the form of poster sessions. In all, there were 24 posters that were presented by students from different countries of Asia, ranging from Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia to Malaysia.

One of the highlights of Map Asia 2007 was the Gala Dinner hosted by NRE on August 15. It provided a perfect excuse for the visiting delegates to unwind at the end of a busy day. The evening extravaganza witnessed dance and musical performances by well known Malaysian artists which were appreciated by one and all.

The valedictory session held on the last day of the conference, signalled the end of Map Asia 2007. A number of awards were presented during the closing ceremony by Honourable Deputy Minister of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia, Y.B Dato’ S.Sothinathan. The Best Exhibitor award was shared by Bentley, ESRI and DigitalGlobe. The Best Paper award was jointly won by three deserving authors:

Luk Ing Ping from Eco-Ideal Consulting Sdn Bhd, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia for ‘Integrating GIS with GeoEnviron database system as a robust tool for integrated solid waste management in Malaysia’ Dr. Halim Setan from UTM, Malaysia for ‘Determining surface displacement for industrial applications’ Rajkumari Sunita Devi from Manipur Remote Sensing Applications Centre, India for ‘Catchment characterisation of Loktak Lake (Manipur, India) using remote sensing and GIS’

Soveat Vuth, Chamroeun Sea, and Dr. Jan-Peter Mund from Royal University of Agriculture, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, won the Best Poster award for their poster titled ‘Virtual RUA 3D representation of Phnom Penh and the Royal University of Agriculture’.

Sunil Ahuja, Regional Manager (SEAPAC), GIS Development Sdn Bhd, delivered the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the organisers of the event. He thanked NRE, JUPEM, MaCGDI as well as the sponsors DigitalGlobe, ESRI, Bentley Systems, HP, Leica Geosystems and Ionic Software Inc., UNESCO, PCGIAP, GITA, and OGC for their support and actively help in organising the event. He expressed deep gratitude to all the delegates for making Map Asia 2007 a grand success and welcomed all to revisit Malaysia next year for Map Asia 2008.