Talking to Matthew O’Connel MAP INDIA 2006 A REPORT

Talking to Matthew O’Connel MAP INDIA 2006 A REPORT

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Map India 2006 was the 9th Annual International Conference and Exhibition in the field of geographic information, science, technology and application, which was held from 30th January to 1st February 2006 at Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi. With the mission of fostering the use and spread of geospatial technologies among communities, ‘Map India 2006’ served as a unique platform for convergence, sharing and exchange of experiences to the mapping community comprising map producers, users, academic institutions, industry, technology developers and policy makers to interact, understand each others’ requirements and discuss, deliberate and formulate strategies for achieving the common objectives in the geospatial domain. This year Map India also had a meeting for ‘The Geospatial Leaders Forum’ and a parallel conference in conjugation with FIG Commission 7 on ‘Enhancing Land Registration and Cadastre for Economic Growth in India’

Theme
Map India 2006 had a theme of ‘GIS: Finding Mainstream’. Since the past two decades, most business enterprises and governments departments across the globe have increasingly understood the significance and relevance of bringing the geographic component into their planning, design and delivery phases. In this process, over the past one decade, geospatial technologies have gradually been brought out of the traditional laboratories and largely integrated with mainstream techniques of the industry. And the mainstream industries have begun to give serious attention to the opportunities of locational intelligence and spatial analysis potential it offers. Today, we find that Geographic Information technologies are not developed in isolation; rather it has been integrated with manufacturing, exploration and architectural fields as well. With the theme- ‘finding mainstream’, Map India 2006 tried to measure the progress and delve into the elements that brought and that can bring GIS in the mainstream.

Participation
Map India 2006 had 1221 participants visiting the 3 day conference, representing 29 countries. In all there were 125 papers presented on floor over the 4 keynote sessions, 3 application tracks, 12 technical sessions, 1 workshop, 2 user meets and 4 Technology Shows.

Inauguration
The inaugural session had 7 very important speeches, which set the tone for the conference. Each speaker interpreted the theme of the conference– “Finding Mainstream” in his own perspective giving the conference an interesting pitch right at the inception. Mr Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Science and Technology and Ocean Development, Mr R R Shah, Member Secretary, Planning Commission, Dr M P Narayanan, President, GIS Development, Mr K K Singh, Chairman and Managing Director,Rolta India Ltd., Dr Hans Hess, former CEO, Leica Geosystems, Mr Ashwini K Chaubey, Cabinet Minister, Urban Development, Government of Bihar and Dr Ravi Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, GIS Development graced the occasion. Dr M P Narayanan, President, GIS Development, started on a nostalgic note, very briefly tracing the history of Map India, from 1998 when it was first launched. He welcomed all the dignitaries and delegates to Map India 2006. He mentioned that the trend in geospatial sciences, today is to reach out to the masses and that is what ‘finding mainstream’ is all about. This was followed by a presentation by Dr Ravi Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, GIS Development on industry and market trends of GIS in India. This was followed by the occasion of ‘lighting the lamp’ to formally inaugurate the 3 days of conference, where all the dignitaries joined.

After this, Mr Kapil Sibal, graced the occasion with his inaugural address. He emphasized the trends of a fast and networked environment in today’s business processes and highlighted that IT and GIS cannot be overlooked to achieve best workflows in such environment. Mr Kapil Sibal then formally released the first set of Open Series Maps in paper and digital and technology sectors. Mr R R Shah mentioned about some of the key initiative under process for the Planning Commission. Dr Hans Hess mentioned about the two important developments that have changed and are going to change the way geo-information shall be utilized in the near future- first, Google Earth and the second phenomenon is car navigation. Mr K K Singh mentioned how the communication technologies and information society has emerged in recent times and has changed the manner in which citizens interact, think and act. Mr Ashwini K Chaubey recognized technology as a rational base to urban planning and growth.

Plenary Sessions

The Technology Perspective
The first Plenary Session was chaired by Dr. AR Dasgupta, distinguished Professor, BISAG. The speakers included Prof. Josef Strobl, University of Salzburg, Austria; Ben Eazzetta, COO, SGI Division, Intergraph; Dr. Xavier Lopez, Director, Spatial and Location Techologies, Oracle; and Dr. Kentaro Toyama, Asst. MD, Microsoft Research India, Microsoft Corp. Prof. Strobl’s spoke on “The prospects and challenges of mainstreaming GIS”. He stressed on education, as the key to feed the market and bring GIS to public domain. He proposed devising of GIS society on the pillars of technology, business and education. The next speaker, Ben Eazzetta, spoke on global trends driving GIS to the mainstream under his main theme “Seamless Geospatial Computing for mainstream GIS”. Mr. Xavier Lopez spoke on “Advancing interoperability through enterprise web services”. The last speech was by Dr. Kentaro Toyama. His topic was “Mainstream finding GIS Vs GIS finding mainstream”. Dr. Toyama focused his speech on challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming GIS in the Indian context and he broadly covered access to data, usability, profitability and moved on to challenges in them.