The First Asia-Pacific Conference for ESRI Users was held with great success on 12 to 13 January 2006 at Cyberport, Hong Kong, China. More than 400 participants from 20 different Asia-Pacific countries came together at this inaugural conference to share ideas, experiences and best practices of GIS to help maintain a ‘sustainable world’.
The plenary session was officially opened by Winnie Tang, CEO of ESRI China (HK). Tang said that this first conference for GIS users in Asia-Pacific was ESRI’s commitment to GIS users in this part of the world by bringing attendees the latest technological development and applications on GIS, as the theme of this Conference suggests- ‘GIS Sustaining the World’s Fastest Growing Region’. Following her welcome speech, the two officiating guests John C Tsang, JP, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and Chung Kai Sin, JP, Hong Kong Legislative Councillor, IT Industry delivered their welcome addresses. “Hong Kong has benefited from the increasing adoption of GIS and associated mapping applications in both the public and private sectors. This conference is a good platform for government departments, GIS professionals and users to share ideas, experiences, and best practices of GIS technology and its various applications in the Asia-Pacific region” said John C Tsang. After this ceremony, Dr David Maguire, Director of Products, ESRI Inc. delivering the opening speech shared his view on the role of GIS in sustaining the development of this region.
The keynote speeches were delivered by five erudite speakers from the industry and academics in both international and regional domain Professor Michael Batty, University College London, U.K., Professor Jun Chen, President, National Geomatics Center of China, Adam Lewis, Group Leader, National Mapping Division, Geoscience Australia, Professor Michael Lighter, President and CEO, IEEE, U.S.A. and Professor Anthony Yeh, Secretary-General, Asia GIS Association. A panel discussion took place after the keynote session and deliberated on the ways to address and implement the theme of the Conference. The panelists were Professor Michael Batty, Professor Jun Chen, Adam Lewis, Professor Michael Lightner and Professor Anthony Yeh.
A large number of delegates participated in the welcome function to socialise and network. The welcome function started with a welcome address by Dr David Maguire and was followed by speech by Michael Phoon, Director, Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific Pte Ltd., the Platinum Sponsor of the Conference.
The second-day of the conference featured paper presentation sessions and technical workshop. The presentations covered a wide range of topics such as Environmental Management and Nature Conservation, Urban and Regional Planning, Transportation and Logistics issues, etc. The speakers were from a varied areas of industries in public, commercial and academic sectors. The highlight of the user presentation session was the Directors’ Track. The four directors from departments of HKSAR Government invited to present in the Directors’ Track session were Chiu Ying LAM, Director of Hong Kong Observatory, HKSAR; Patrick L.C. LAU, Director of Lands, HKSAR; Hing Wang FUNG, Commissioner for Census and Statistics, HKSAR and Bosco C.K. FUNG, Director of Planning, HKSAR.
Exhibition and Map Gallery
The sponsors and exhibitors from GIS-related companies in the Asia-Pacific region viz., HP, Microsoft, NCSI and seven other ESRI business partners actively supported the Conference. The Map Gallery featured a collection of maps and posters by National Geographic Society.
The two day conference was concluded with a Gala Dinner. Attendees mingled in a relaxing atmosphere to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Conference. The closing session of the conference was chaired by Dr Maguire who gave the closing speech and extended his special thanks to all participants and sponsors of the Conference.