The 2nd Annual Middle East Conference with the theme “Geospatial for All – All for Geospatial” was held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from March 26 to 29. Organized by GIS Development and Dubai Municipality the conference was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from 41 countries.
The conference was inaugurated by H.E. Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Acting Director General of Dubai Municipality on 26th March. He said that the conference would provide a platfrom for the entire geospatial community in the Middle East region to learn about the new developments in the field of GIS, GPS, Remote Sensing and Aerial Photography. The inaugural session was addressed by Dr. M P Narayanan, President, GIS Development; Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Member of Parliament, India; and Prof. Milan Konecny, President of International Cartographic Association.
The session was addressed by eminent geospatial leaders from around the world. Prof. David Rhind, Vice Chancellor, City University, London touched upon the topic of ‘GIS and the Safety of Society’. The series of natural and man-made disasters in 2005 and 2006 have highlighted the role that GIS and its users can play in safeguarding society, said Prof. Rhind. He added that coping with disasters – natural or man-made – is an area where GIS can potentially make a major contribution.
Ian Dowman, President, ISPRS in his presentation on ‘Earth Observation and Society: Opportunities and challenges for all’ emphasized that there is an enormous potential for earth observation data to serve society, but there are still many problems in this field.
Preetha Pulusani, Former President (Security, Government and Infrastructure Division), Intergraph Corporation, USA spoke on the topic of ‘Technology for a More Secure World’. She said security applications used to prevent crises today are much more than traditional GIS and provide a more comprehensive, information-rich geospatial environment that are bringing together emergency and incident management with sensor, alarm and video surveillance technologies.
In his speech on “Land Management and Cadastre” Em. Prof. Gottfried Konecny from University of Hannover, Germany said that in many parts of the world, land – which is a limited, non-renewable resource – is over utilized and degraded by urbanization and industrialization.
Styli Camateros, Vice President (Geospatial) Bentley Systems talked on Advancing Geospatial Technology in Infrastructure. He said infrastructure is the cornerstone of economic development and because of its long lifecycle is particularly difficult to manage.
The first keynote session was on ‘Satellite Photogrammetry: Emerging Trends’. During this session Prof. Christian Heipke, Institute of Photogrammetry & Geoinformation, University of Hannover, Germany spoke on Emerging GIS and mapping trends. Mr. Rich Turner, Senior Product Manager, ESRI talked on GIS – Trends driving GIS evolution in our Rapidly Changing world; Dr. C. V. S. Prakash, Director, Antrix Corporation talked on Satellite Photogrammetry: Emerging Trends and Mr. John W Allan Director (Sales & Marketing), BAE Systems talked on Making 3D geospatial databases a reality.
In the second keynote session, on the topic of ‘Positioning and Locational Intelligence’ Mr. George Moon, CTO, MapInfo Corporation spoke about Technology Trends in Positioning & Locational Intelligence; Dr. Vanessa Lawrence, DG & Chief Executive, Ordnance Survey, UK talked on ‘Underpinning the Nation with Geographic information for informed decision making’; Mr. Michael Jones, Chief Technology Officer, Google Earth talked on The Expanding Role of Geospatial Information and Mr. Ron Lake, President & CEO, Galdos Inc, USA talked on Spatial Data Infrastructures and the future of GIS.
During the third keynote, which was on ‘GIS in the Middle East’ Eng. Muhammad Alrajhi, Director General of Surveying and mapping, MOMRA, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, spoke about Geo Information in Saudi Arabia; Brig. Khalifa Al Romaithi, Director, Military Survey Department, UAE talked on Abu Dhabi Emirate Geoportal (GeoADE); Eng. Khalil Almaharmeh, Royal Jordanian Geographic Center, Jordan talked on Geo Spatial And GIS Data In RJGC – Jordan.
The Exhibition was inaugurated by H.E. Eng. Hussain Nasser Lootah, Acting Director General of Dubai Municipality. 51 Exhibitors participated in the exhibition. The exhibition was a great success, with Military Survey UAE, Intergraph and Dubai Municipality sharing the top honors for the best exhibitors.
Apart from the above, there were Special Tracks on Governance and Land Administration, National Security, and Infrastructure. These included Special Track Keynotes on the before mentioned subjects.
There were two workshops on “GIS Project Management” and “GIS Ethics and Laws”. The first workshop was run by Dr. A R Dasgupta, Distinguished Professor from BISAG, India and the second workshop was run by Mr. Roger Longhorn, Director, Info-Dynamics Research, and UK. The two workshops were well attended by experts from industry and academia.
Altogether 215 papers were received by the Map Middle East 2006 Technical Committee. Map Middle East 2006 had 59 paper presentations spread across various Technical Sessions and Special Tracks and more than 50 poster presentations.
The conference concluded on 29th of March with a call to build educational infrastructure in geospatial technology and to integrate it with other engineering streams. Award for best paper presentation was also announced at the ceremony.