Home Articles Fifth Seminar on GIS and Developing Countries GISDECO 2000

Fifth Seminar on GIS and Developing Countries GISDECO 2000

November 2-3, 2000
Co-organised by The GISDECO International Committee and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Los Banos, Philippines

GISDECO is an international network of GIS experts, planners and project managers engaged in GIS applications in developing countries. GISDECO focuses on the exchange of practical experiences with GIS-applications by organising seminars and workshops in various countries. The purpose of GISDECO is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and progress in problem solving for GIS researchers and practitioners, either from and working in developing countries or from developed countries and working on the problems of GIS technology transfer and spatial analysis applications in developing countries. The general objective of these two broad groups is common, namely to assist the development process and improve the quality of life of those populations who suffer from lagging economic and social development, while safe-guarding the fragility of the bio-physical realm in truly and newly underdeveloped countries.

The Fifth GISDECO Seminar focuses on GIS tools for rural development. It is appropriate that this Seminar was held in Asia for the first time, for GIS technology has made significant inroads into Asia, particularly over the past decade. The main purpose of the seminar was to bring together experts and practitioners of GIS and related technologies to share practical experiences and the state-of-the-art advancements to gain better insight into how these technologies may be effectively used to support policy formulation, planning and management of the natural and human resources for progressive rural development. Participants from all over the world took part in the seminar. The main participation was from the Asian Countries including India.

Dr. Ren Wang, IRRI Deputy Director- General for Research, in his welcome remarks to 90 participants from 15 countries, remarked on the appropriateness of the Seminar theme, GIS Tools for Rural Development, in emphasizing the importance of using modern IT tools for the benefit of the poor and the technologically disadvantaged. Prof. Pieter van Teeffelen, of Utretcht University and Chairman of GISDECO International, the world-wide network of GIS academics and practitioners that organises the biennial GISDECO Seminars, traced the rapid development of GIS through the 10 years since the network started.

Dr. Ronald J. Eastman of Clark University U.S.A., well known for his pioneering work in GIS software development, delivered an insightful keynote speech on managing uncertainty for effective use of data in GIS, given that sudden and major improvements in data quality are unlikely to be realized, especially in the developing world. Twenty-two oral presentations and 18 posters were presented, addressing a wide range of concerns of the rural sector from poverty issues to environmental degradation. The oral paper sessions were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Eastman. Panelists, chosen to represent different fields of disciplines and geographical areas they work in, touched upon common key issues raised in the Seminar, raised issues not addressed in the oral and poster presentations, and provided perspectives of GIS applications to rural development from the different regions of the world. There were also exhibitions and computer demonstrations on GIS applications. Despite the typhoon and the unexpected declaration of non-working holiday and closure of the Institute on 2 and 3 November, the Seminar proceeded smoothly.

The GISDECO2000 proceedings on CD-ROM will be published jointly by IRRI and GISDECO International, which is expected to be ready in February 2001.

GIS Open Day (4th November 2000)
In conjunction with its 40th Anniversary, IRRI has organised a GIS Open Day on Saturday 4 November 2000. All Seminar participants attended the Open Day events. Poster presenters at the GISDECO2000 were encouraged to leave their posters to be exhibited at the Open Day. The purpose of organising this event is to make people aware of mapping technology and the important contributions it is making in the fields of science, technology, information, and the humanities. It was a day for GIS professionals to show individuals and organisations how to utilise geographic information in their own communities, businesses, and environments, and reap the amazing benefits of GIS technology.

For more information please contact Dr. S. P. Kam, GIS Specialist Social Sciences Division and Chair of the Organising Committee of GISDECO2000 at [email protected] or Visit www.cgiar.org/irri