Emergence of the regional forum for the Middle East
The lively and wonderful city of Dubai played the perfect host to all the participants of the first annual Middle East conference on Geospatial Information, Technology and Applications ‘Map Middle East 2005’. Organised by GIS Development (India), Dubai Municipality (UAE) and CSDMS (India) the event was held from April 23 to 25, 2005 at Al Bustan Rotana Hotel.
Under the theme of ‘Geospatial Information and Knowledge Economy’ the event fulfilled the need for a regional forum in the geospatial domain. The stakeholders – academia, researchers, students and the industry – shared their experiences and explored arenas for future geospatial collaboration.
The event was supported by six Gold Sponsors (Intergraph, BAE Systems, Bentley, Rolta, Global Scan Technologies, and ESRI), and three co-sponsors (Military Survey Department, UAE; Space Reconnaissance Centre, UAE; Town Planning Department, Al Ain City, Government of Abu Dhabi).
The conference was attended by 622 delegates from the entire Middle East region – UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Syria – as well as from countries such as USA, Switzerland, The Netherlands.
The inauguration started with the chanting of holy words from the Holy Quran in a packed hall of over 450 people. The occasion was graced by Er. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Assistant Director General, Dubai Municipality. Addressing the inaugural session of Map Middle East 2005 Mr. Lootah said, “If GIS is to make a lasting and sustainable contribution to development in the region, the need for indigenous control of the technologies is of paramount importance.” The vote of thanks was given by Eng. Mohammed Al Zaffin, Director, Dubai GIS Center, Dubai Municipality, UAE.
Geospatial Information and Knowledge Economy
This was the first plenary session on the first day. The session was chaired by Er. Hussain Nasser Lootah of Dubai Municipality and had three key presentations by Dr Terrence J Keating, Vice President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions; Prof. Dr. Ir. Martien Molenaar, Rector, ITC, The Netherlands; and David Coleman, Professor and Dean of Engineering, New Brunswick University.
Spatial Data Infrastructure: International Initiatives
The second plenary session touched upon the important topic of Spatial Data Infrastructure and through the four crucial talks addressed its international perspective. The session was chaired by Brigadier Khaliffa Al-Romaithi, Director, Military Survey Department, UAE. The four main presentations were of Ms. Vanessa Lawrence, Director General and Chief Executive, Ordnance Survey, UK; Major General M Gopal Rao, Additional Surveyor General, Survey of India (his paper was presented by Brig. Manoj Tayal, Director, Survey Training Institute, Hyderabad, India); Milan Konecny, President, International Cartographic Association; and Li Deren, Academician Professor, Wuhan University, China. >
The third plenary was on technology trends of the industry. The plenary touched upon developing frameworks for integrating various systems. It showcased the latest technological developments, case studies and offerings. The key speakers were David Maguire, Director Products, ESRI; Albert Godfrind, Oracle Corporation and Mark Reichardt, President, Open Geospatial Consortium.