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‘Data sharing must for sustainable SDIs’

Doha, Qatar: Geospatial data sharing is a must for a successful spatial data infrastructure (SDI), observed Dr. Eng. Mohamed Abd El-Wahab Hamouda, head of planning division, Centre for GIS (CGIS), Ministry of Municipality & Urban Planning, State of Qatar. He was addressing Plenary I during Map Middle East 2011 in Doha, Qatar. According to Dr. Eng. Hamouda, some of the benefits of smooth data sharing are time savings in decision making and planning and cost effectiveness. On the other hand, barriers in data sharing include reluctance in sharing data which are rated as sensitive data assets and information technology policies and procedures. In addition, data sharing is limited because of lack of knowledge. Users do not know what geospatial data can do, how to get it and how to get optimum output out of it.

Elaborating on successful geospatial practices in Qatar, Dr. Eng. Hamouda stated that these practices could be made possible by adopting best practices from around the world. “Open access is essential to enable more effective decision making. The value of individual dataset or information lies in its capacity of being cross-linked. Technology trends like Web and mobile services are facilitating and create new frontiers for data sharing,” added Dr. Eng. Hamouda.

Daniel Wallace, General Manager-GIS Data Collection, Trimble, USA, talked about how geospatial technology is a key ingredient in all infrastructure projects. “Though infrastructure encompasses various industries like roads, tunnels, bridges, buildings, etc, they have certain common applications. They include demand for more field connectivity, using data-rich models for decision making, and cloud technology for connectivity between field and office,” he said.

Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist, Google, described the way Google has adopted geospatial technologies in its different services. He observed that information has become generic now and the biggest change in the last 20 years is its transformation to the digital format. He stressed that users are now in the centre of the map because map makers care a lot now whether the map is customised as per users’ need or not. He identified for ‘Ws’ determining modern mapping: where, when, who and what. Ed Parsons concluded that this is the era of smartphones which are capable of dealing with all these ‘Ws.’ According to Parsons, smartphones are growing eight times faster than the normal landline connection and navigation devices (including GPS-enabled smartphones) save approximately USD 250,000 per day by avoiding traffic mess.

Source: Our correspondent