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Seminar on Spatial Data Infrastructure

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To create awareness among the people a seminar on spatial data infrastructure was organised for the first time in the UAE on 12 February 2006. The speakers at the seminar focussed on the need to establish a national data inventory and to develop mechanisms for data availablility and their accessibility. The Abu Dhabi seminar was attended by high officials from the government of Abu Dhabi and from other Emirates of the UAE.

The seminar was organized by Military Survey Department, UAE; Abu Dhabi Spatial Data Management Establishment Committee, and GIS Development was the co-organiser. The Seminar was chaired by Brig. Khalifa Al Romaithi, the Director of Military Survey Department and the Chairman, SDI. The welcome address to the distiguished gathering was delivered by Lt. Col. Saleh Al Hubail, Head of Aerial Survey, Military Survey Department. Lt. Col. Hubail is also the member of Spatial Data Infrastructure Committee.

The seminar was addressed by a number of various distinguished International speakers who came down from different parts of the globe to share their experiences in developing of a Spatial Data Infrastructure for a nation.

Mr. Pak Chargarlamudi, Manager Geomatics, Natural Resources Canada; Dr. Steve Blake, Executive Director, Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council; Major General Gopal Rao, Surveyor General of India; Dr. Abdul Kadir, Deputy Director-General of Survey and Mapping, Malaysia; Mr. Robert Samborski, Executive Director, GITA and Mr. Ravi Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, GIS Development. Brigadier Khalifa Al Romaithi highlighted the various issues pertaining to the implementation of SDI in Abu Dhabi. He spoke about the legislations required, policies and existing laws for Geo-Information to implement SDI in the UAE. Sharing his experiences Mr. Pak Chargarlamudi highlighted the framework structure required for development of SDI and also presented the Canadian perspective and strategies.

Dr. Steve Blake presented a report on the long established SDI structure in Australia and New Zealand and focused on the strategic plan that is being required to maintain developing spatial policy and strategy for governments. Dr. Abdul Kadir gave an insight to the Malaysian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (MyGDI) and the initiatives undertaken by JUPEM with its focus in meeting the challenges of the geo-information community.

While exchanging his views, Major General Gopal Rao showcased the overarching framework of National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) for the existing agencies. NSDI of India envisions its active promotional role for the use of spatial data at different levels of the government and other stakeholders of NSDI. Mr. Robert Samborski presented how to develop and document a formal methodology in the preparation of a business case, including Return on Investment in Geospatial Information Technology. Mr. Ravi Gupta summarized the experiences and the development of National Spatial Data Infrastructure in emerging and developing countries. He emphasized, the end user is going to be the gainer with the new offerings provided by the upcoming spatial data providers. The seminar was concluded with an open house Panel Discussion headed by Brig. Khalifa Al Romaithi, which highlighted many issues and recommendations to be taken care of for such an initiative to implement Spatial Data Infrastructure in a nation. Many of the issues were documented for further review and discussion.

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