Seoul, South Korea: Second day of ‘High Level Forum’ in Seoul, South Korea, started with the theme, Developing Common Frameworks and Methodologies. The keynote on PC-GIAP (Permanent Committee on GIS Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific) set out three frameworks: geodetic, technical and institutional and noted that there is a need to keep these up to date as out of date regulations could hinder the effective operation of NMOs.
Presentations from Eurostat, talking about INSPIRE, OGC and ISO were complemented by talks about activities in Mexico and Namibia. All of these stressed the need for international coordination, particularly for cross border data, and the need for the involvement of industry in the development of standards. Industry can underpin national activities and add value to them. The discussion emphasised the need for data sharing, particularly as an aid for developing countries and as a means to level the differences between less developed and developed nations. It was suggested that a road map was essential to progress in this area; however it was also noted that there could be complex issues in data sharing and that it is not easy.
The second theme of the day was ‘International Coordination and Cooperation’. Speakers set out examples of cooperation, including collaboration between the societies of the Joint Board of Geospatial Societies, GEO, an Arctic SDI and how small nations could leverage support from bigger nations through cooperation; an example of the latter was New Zealand benefitting from research activities in Australia. The discussion covered the problems and benefits of data sharing and on the need for funding. The examples of GEOSS and WMO were mentioned: data sharing in GEOSS is fragile, whilst in the meteorology area legislation enables data sharing. The need for understanding the needs of a recipient community were stressed, especially at local and regional level.
The final theme of the high level forum was ‘Capacity Building and Knowledge Transfer’. The keynote concentrated on processes for capacity building in Africa, but other speakers discussed general concepts of capacity building and leadership with examples of their own countries. Of particular interest was the example from the United Kingdom where maps and access to digital data was given to school children, which had resulted in an enthusiastic response. It would be interested to know whether this resulted in an increase in interest in careers in geospatial information. The discussion followed up on the schools theme and people suggested competitions for school children making use of geospatial data. Two important messages from the session were the need for a top down approach to capacity building and some mechanism for a coordinated approach, a pooling of resources to ensure sustainability, especially in Africa.
The closing session of the forum summarised the discussion and outcomes and the participants approved the Seoul Declaration which resolved to support the UN initiative and take actions to strengthen national cooperation, develop processes and share experiences to promote global geospatial information management.
The meeting concluded with the formal meeting of the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management which endorsed the findings of the Forum and planned the programme of work of the Committee.
Source: Our Correspondent