Dehradun, India: “We should domesticate the technology, technology should not domesticate us,” observed Dr. V. Jayaraman, Director, National Remote Sensing Centre, ISRO, Department of Space, Govt of India, during his inaugural address at the ISPRS WG VI/4 – ISRS International Workshop. The two-day workshop, organised by Indian Society of Remote Sensing and Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, got under way here today with the theme Multinational Geomatics Capacity Building – Achievements and Challenges. Jayaraman urged for addressing the issue of capacity building in the light of challenges posed by rapid technological advancements. He emphasised that capacity building is much more than education or training. It is hands-on skills development on a continuous basis. It is important that the trainers themselves are trained first. Jayaraman observed that social networking will get integrated with spatial technology and with more than 50 percent India’s population being born after the computer was born, it is important that youngsters are taken into the loop regarding any capacity building initiative. It is they who can train and teach the earlier generation.
Jayaraman also emphasised on the importance of the triad of the government, industry and academia in the development of any technology, especially geospatial technology. According to him, geospatial technologies have to be delivered to people through the devices that they carry in their hands.
The workshop was inaugurated with the lighting of the auspicious lamp and invocation. Dr. PS Roy, Dean, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, welcomed the audience to the workshop and to the IIRS campus here.
Global educational services
Martin Molenaar, President, ISPRS TC VI on education & outreach and Faculty of Geo-Information Science (ITC), Twente University, The Netherlands, raised the issue of internationalisation of education in his workshop keynote paper. According to him, geo-processes like climate change are now beyond national level, they are at supra-national and even at global scale. This implies the need to build a global community to address this change. He urged for the need for all nations to have academic and professional capacity to monitor these processes and contribute to their management. Changes in the context of geographic information services, where the role of traditional GI information providers is reducing, changes in role of government, fast changing business models where organisations have to adjust their mandates frequently, changes in user demand and factors like crowdsourcing and volunteered geographic information are all causing a shift in addressing capacities. According to him, networks for education are required because partners involved have different competences and fields of expertise which can be combined into one educational program or course and e-learning tools provide facilities for mutual support of the lecturers at the different nodes.
International capacity building
The first technical session of the day highlighted initiatives in geomatics training and education at international level. Dr. PS Roy, Dean, IIRS and Director, Centre for Space Science & Technology Education (Asia-Pacific) (CSSTEAP) informed the audience about capacity building through multi-institutional educational programme that is an initiative of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). He informed that the UN has developed a model curricula for various centres of this programme.
Other initiatives highlighted in the session included geospatial capacity building and networking in the Hindu Kush – Himalayan Region by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development that aims to support climate policy and actions and offers mountain-focussed geo-informatics training curriculum and courses; GIS capacity building and masters degree programmes offered by Nigeria-based Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Surveys (RECTAS) in enhancing Africa’s development; the post-graduate diploma programmes offered by African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English (ARCSSTEE), one of the Regional Centers established by UNOOSA to promote Space Science and Technology education in Africa; and capacity building programmes for domestic and international training in Taiwan.
The second session highlighted initiatives and achievements cross-border and transcontinental geoinformatino education from Thailand, The Netherlands, Taiwan and India.
Focus of the workshop then shifted on geomatics training and education in India. Dr. K. Mruthyunjaya Reddy of Andhra Pradesh State Remote Sensing Applications Centre highlighted the organisation’s initiatives in capacity building in dissemination of space technology with special emphasis on agriculture development, in mining, shrimp farming and awareness programmes for school children on metereology. TP Singh of Symbiosis Institute of Geoinformatics raised issues and challenges pertaining to geo-informatics education in private institutions in India. He observed that there is a need for assistance from industry to establish centers of excellence, by association through projects and interface between the industry and educational institutions. BP Lakshmikantha of Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre illustrated the geomatics training initiatives for government officers at micro and macro levels in development and administrative activities across the state like water resource management and policing.
Source: Our correspondent