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Africa Geospatial Forum calls for collective action

Accra, Ghana: The second day of the Africa Geospatial Forum 2012 saw geospatial experts from around the globe delve into various issues that are crucial to ensure a faster and more sustainable growth for the African continent. Addressing the gathering during various sessions held through the day, most experts felt that while there is enough know-how in the region to implement geospatial technology, the need is to unite the disjointed efforts and work towards a common cause for the overall benefit of the region.

Symposium on road to sustainable land administration
The symposium on land administration looked at some of the issues that affect land administration in Africa and how modern technologies can play a vital role in addressing those challenges. Brent Jones from Esri, in his presentation titled ‘New Cadastre Technologies for Developing Economies’ explained how a properly functioning cadastre is vital for securing rights in land and property, wealth creation and contributing to environmental management. Citing the fact that less than a quarter of the population is supported by a well functioning cadastre, he discussed how the use of geospatial technology, which encompasses elements such as data quality improvement, standards, cloud computing etc, can help implement effective cadastral systems.

Dr. Isaac Karikari, National Project Coordinator, Ghana Land Administration Project, gave an overview of the land administration project and how it intends to help in the overall development of Ghana through the implementation of effective land administration systems. He said that while the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is well aware of the importance of organisation of land and its records for the economic development of Ghana, the need is to deploy new technology and create effective policies to achieve this goal.

Seminar on infrastructure soaring new heights
Infrastructure is one of the most potential verticals for the use of geospatial technology and most of the African countries are characterised by the growing demand for new and improved infrastructure. The seminar brought together speakers from different countries to discuss some of the latest developments taking place in the field.

The presentation by Asiedu Poku, Director Planning Department, Department of Town and Country Planning in Ghana talked about the recently established GIS-based information system at the department and its ability to support planners with the necessary information at various levels of planning. The presentation also discussed some of the challenges being faced by the system including human resource and technology constraints and also highlighted the agency’s future plans to include functions like street naming, property tax collection and linking to land administration.

Dr. Ing Yaw Poku Gyamfi, Research Scientist, Building and Road Research Institute, CSIR, Ghana emphasised on the need for a collective effort by different countries to strengthen the technologies that nurture and support the growth of the African continent. He also informed about the African Geodetic Reference Frames (AFREF) which aims to bring together all African nations through a network of permanent GNSS stations. The presentation also talked about initiatives like the Square Kilometre Array and the planned extension of the European EGNOS service to Africa.

Seminar on public-private alliances for spatial data infrastructure
The growth of geospatial technology in Africa depends on honest data sharing efforts and the creation of effective spatial data infrastructures. The seminar explored the possibility of creating public-private partnerships to move forward towards creating spatial data infrastructures.

The presentation by Jonathan Allotey, Director – Centre for Sustainability Environment and Planning, Ghana looked at some of the challenges facing the development of SDIs in Africa, such as lack of resources, low level of private sector involvement as well as other technical and legal issues and how a PPP model can lead to the effective implementation of SDIs.

Other sessions held during the day included a seminar on ‘Energy Powering Africa’, seminar on ‘Geospatial Resolving Social Issues’, session on ‘Geospatial for Natural Resource Management’ and a session on ‘Emerging Geospatial Technologies and Applications’.

The exhibition at the Forum saw 21 exhibitors including Trimble, Esri, DigitalGlobe, Intergraph etc. display the latest products and technologies in the geospatial arena.

The two-day Africa Geospatial Forum, being jointly organised by Geospatial Media and Communications and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Ghana, brought together geospatial technology experts from around the world to discuss the growth and usage of the technology in the African continent.

Source: Our Correspondent