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Geomatics Professionals call for Geographic Data Dissemination through Internet

Geomatics 2000, a conference on Geomatics in Electronic Governance and annual convention of Indian Society of Geomatics was organised by the Indian Society of Geomatics (ISG) and hosted by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). The conference was held in Pune University Campus, Pune from January 21-22, 2000. The conference was well attended by 250 delegates. The objective of the conference was to examine all aspects of Geomatics related to e-governance. The forum provided an opportunity to professionals, researchers and engineers as well as government officials and the industry to discuss and understand the various dimensions of the issues involved. The conference addressed various themes like, Public administration, System and technology trends, Natural Resources Management, Utility Management, Disaster Management, Urban Planning and Development. Overall, 30 papers were presented in the six technical sessions during the two-day meeting. Eminent persons like Mr. R. Ramabadran, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat and President, ISG, Dr. N. Seshagiri, Special Secretary and Director General, NIC and Mr. A. K. S. Gopalan, Director, Space Applications Centre, attended the conference.

An exhibition was also held along with the conference. Vendors and manufacturers of software and hardware related to GIS remote sensing, photogrammetry, cartography, as well as NGOs and agencies working in allied fields of Geomatics displayed their products and services (including live demostrations) and provide on the spot consultancy to potential users. The exhibition was open to both the delegates and the general public for creating wider awareness. About 15 different companies and agencies took part in the exhibition.

A three-day ‘Pre-Conference Tutorial on GIS in Utility Management was also organised at C-DAC, Pune. The tutorial covered the fundamental concepts of GIS and introduced GIS tools and techniques through a series of lectures and hands-on sessions. Case studies with applications of GIS in utility management were presented by several organisations.

Recommendations of Geomatics 2000

Recognising the fact that the government is committed to e-governance in order to bring transparency and efficiency in its actions and a good part of government information is geographic in nature and that government incurs a very large expenditure on collection, achieving, updating and dissemination of such information, the following recommendations were made at the conference:

  1. There is need for a national geographic information policy which addresses the generation, standardisation, authentication, accessibility and security of geographic information. Professional societies like the Indian Society of Geomatics should be part of the consultative process to formulate such policies.
  2. As the geographic (geomatic) information has visible and perceptible impact on e-governance, all institutes of public administration, training institutes in the states and the Centre should include a module on geomatic technology and its applications. The Indian Society of Geomatics, in association with other organisations, can help to develop such modules and identify potential applications.
  3. The popularity of geomatic applications has created a commercial market for geomatic solution providers. To ensure quality services, it is necessary to have certified solution providers. The Indian Society of Geomatics can assist governments in evolving certification procedures and be a certifying body.
  4. All geographic data generators are urged to make available their non-sensitive public interest data on the Internet. This will help wider use of data and help to develop new applications.
  5. In order to extend the availability of geographic information to the common man, information kiosks could be set up by concerned organisations. These kiosks should have local language interface. To achieve this, the Government of India should insist that all geographic information handling software and systems should have interfaces in Indian languages.