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International conference on Spatial Data Infrastructure and its role in Disaster Management

October 24 to 26, 2005,
Hotel Le Royal Meridien,
Chennai, India

The three-day conference was organised jointly by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Department of Science and Technology, (GoI), and PACON International University of Hawaii (US). Besides, these, the co-organisers were NIDM under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Society of Indian Ocean Studies, Aquaculture Foundation of India and Department of Ocean Development, and in cooperation with SOI, IMD, Department of Space, NRSA, and ISRO.

The main aim of organising the conference was to raise awareness on the usage of Spatial Data Infrastructure and its applications in preparedness, planning and mitigation of disasters. While, some of the objectives were to promote the usage of spatial data in disaster mitigation and preparedness, to disseminate information on successful integration of space technology solutions in a sustainable manner in disaster management programmes for the South Asian region, to discuss public-private partnership in building National Spatial Data Infrastructure and also to encourage the implementation of pilot projects by the industry.

The three-day event witnessed a congregation of over 200 participants including international participants, the Government of India services (including defence, fire and police), public and private decision makers, IT and telecom companies, insurance companies, institutions, academia and NGOs. The inaugural session was graced by S Regupathy, Hon’ble Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri. P Murari, Advisor to the president, FICCI, Shri. V C Menon, Member, NDMA, Shri. R. Muthu, Chairman, FICCI, Tamilnadu State Council and Shri. Alok K Mittal, Advisor, FICCI.

Welcoming the delegates, Shri R Muthu, recalled the loss of life and devastation caused by the tsunami in the coastal districts of the State last December. He also underlined the need for a permanent and readily-available infrastructure to face such challenges.

On delivering the keynote address, Shri S Reghupathy, said that the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), should focus on providing organized spatial data and multi-level networking to enhance economic growth, social progress and environmental quality, and though the government should take the initiative, the private enterprises, NGOs and academia have a key role in making the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), a reality. Shri V C Menon spoke at length on the use of organized spatial data in disaster management. Shri P Murari emphasized that with the latest developments in science and technology, India needs to develop signs of disasters and translate them into intelligent signals, which in turn should result in prompt actions, so that the severity of the disaster is minimized.

Another highlight of the conference was an exhibition “showcasing various activities, achievements and equipment developed by scientific organizations and the industry.

The three-day conference ended with the valedictory session summing up the recommendations presented in the various sessions. The session was chaired by Rear Admiral Rakesh Chopra, Joint Director, Integrated Service Command, GOI.