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Stop being GIS-centric

Geospatial World is the annual gathering of the Intergraph Geospatial users community sponsored by Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions. This year the conference had 1049 registered participants, 40 exhibitors, over 200 speakers representing 52 countries. This year the event happened at the Hyatt Regency, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

“Stop being GIS-centric!” was the punch line by Preetha Pulusani that made the kick off at the GeoSpatial World 2003. Geospatial World is the annual gathering of the Intergraph Geospatial users community sponsored by Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and in 2003 it was the third conference being held since its inception. This year the event happened at the Hyatt Regency, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA during 19th and 21st of May.

With the city gearing up for its annual Mardi Grass ceremony, an apt ambience of fun, togetherness and networking was evident at all levels. This year the conference had 1049 registered participants, 40 exhibitors, over 200 speakers representing 52 countries. The conference promised to bring a complete understanding of the potential of geospatial data and sciences in the present era and the days to come.

‘Intelligent Information Centric’ Approach
Day 1 started off with Preetha Pulusani, President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, presenting an articulate opening speech at the Regency Ballroom (D & E). She covered broadly four areas in her talk – Intergraph Corporation brief, Executive Management Team introduction, description of the main divisions and their products and clients’ cases of Intergraph usage. Estimating a staggering forecast of 1.9 billion US $ market size for the Geospatial market for 2003 with an impressive growth rate of 8% per annum, Ms Preetha mentioned the future for all geospatial markets to be quite positive and prospective. “Intergraph is [now] a smaller company, but a stronger company,” Pulusani said in her opening remarks. “This year, it made the Forbes 500 list. We have a strong balance sheet, with virtually no debt and cash in the bank.” She emphasized a number of other crucial and thought provoking aspects of the theme in her speech as follows.

She laid stress upon the necessity to understand the critical relationship between data and an organization. She underlined the constant endeavors of Intergraph to relate data to organizations. She also elaborated on how GIS has evolved from being compartmental and focused in its service as solutions of individual problems to now being extending itself to an enterprise system moving towards openness and mainstream. She emphasized the importance of industry standards and interoperability as the need of the hour. Her speech ended with the suggestion that industries, users and implementers of GIS need to move out of being ‘GIS-centric’ in their views and become ‘information-centric’. “We must stop thinking GIS-centric. We must become IT and enterprise aware and centric.” She also elaborated upon the growth and success of Intergraph. Pulusani attributed Intergraph’s success to the company’s move to divest itself of unprofitable business lines (such as hardware) and break itself into four core industry-specific business units — Intergraph Public Safety (IPS); Process, Power, and Offshore (PPO); Intergraph Solutions Group (ISG); and IMGS, which now includes Z/I Imaging and Utililties and Telecommunications.


The Intergraph Awards for Cartographic Excellence recognize professional excellence in design, technique, aesthetics, innovation, communication, and presentation.
The second day had another important keynote address by Roberta E Lenczowski, Technical Director of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) of USA. She gave a succinct description of NIMA, its arena of work, its objectives and vision. The role of agencies like NIMA is immense in not only assisting in intelligence gathering for the nation, but also in formulating and influencing policies that can affect the growing geospatial market in the future. She spoke on the distinction between geospatial ‘information and intelligence’. She referred to move towards being ‘intelligent’ that is totally based on appropriate analysis. Three main strategic transformation objectives of the near future were mentioned. They are,
  • Getting into an all digital, data centric and e-business environment
  • Becoming a one stop shop for Geographic intelligence
  • Insertion of rapid and innovative technology appropriately

Intergraph inducted seven European and North American utility and communications customers into its prestigious 100 Percent Club. This award was bestowed upon utility companies that have achieved full digital conversion of their geofacilities data.

There was a strong recommendation to move up in the data pyramid towards ‘wisdom’, with high performance and minimal reformatting intervention and networking of applications. Her concluding remarks set the venue into a lengthy applause – ‘GIS needs to increasingly emphasize how the world works, rather than how the world looks like…’

Technical Executive Roberta (Bobbi) E. Lenczowski of NIMA (left), and Preetha Pulusani (right), President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions delivering the Keynote Addresses.

Awards
On day 2, ‘Lifetime achievement award’ was presented to Mr Larry Ayers for his dedicated service and contribution to the geospatial industry and technology. The award was announced by Preetha and presented by Roberta (of NIMA). Awards for cartographic excellence was also handed over after the keynote.

Technical Sessions and Exhibitions
The technical sessions commenced everyday approximately from 10 am simultaneously in 13 halls of the Hyatt. The sessions covered the areas of – ‘Foundation, Application Development, Utilities, Education, Transport, Local Governance, and Military’.

Over 200 papers in technical sessions were available in this gamut of 7 application areas mentioned above. The exhibition area with over 40 exhibitors globally, saw huge surges of visitors in the afternoon peaks. Demo theatres and ‘ask the experts’ sessions saw debates, immediate solution seekers and demonstrations spanning topics from ‘image rectification’ to ‘basic SQL formation’.

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