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Dr. Kalam proposes ‘World Geospatial Knowledge Platform’

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: With rapid technological developments in the last 55 years, geospatial technology is going to be a game changer, particularly in the development of rural and remote places of the world, observed Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, former President of India, in his keynote address at the Geospatial World Forum 2012 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  Dr A P J Abdul KalamDr Kalam deliberated upon the applications of geospatial technology for sustainable development of 3 billion people living in rural areas of the world. “India has successfully deployed 12 remote sensing satellites. Data from these satellites and associated applications are being used by millions of people in India, particularly the agriculture and fishing community,” he said.   “World’s water resources are facing potential threats, both manmade and natural. Global climate change has changed the dynamics of living. The quality of water is degrading and geospatial tech provides a means to measure, monitor and manage these resources well. With so many satellites, and ground sensors, so much of data is being generated. With this information, knowledge and wisdom, what can we give to the rural community to improve their quality of life? We need to explore how geospatial technology can help the bottom of the pyramid. Creating a sustainable development model for the 3 billion rural people involves linking data, information exchange and proper dissemination.”  “About 38 out of every 100 workers in the world are into agriculture. In least developed nations, this ratio goes up to 68 percent. How can we enhance the capabilities of this workforce? How can we improve the agriculture productivity? The need is to map water content as well as pest and weed management and post harvest management. Can geospatial tech bring all these benefits to the farmer in their language and deliver the info on their mobile phone? Another reality and challenge of 21st century is providing urban quality amenities to the rural population.”  To address all these challenges, he proposed the ‘World Geospatial Knowledge Platform’, which is a joint venture to develop the products and systems of geospatial technology using the core competencies of multiple nations.   Melanie Schultz van Haegen-Maas GeesteranusIn her opening address, Melanie Schultz van Haegen-Maas Geesteranus, Minister of Infrastructure & Environment, the Netherlands, underscored the power of geospatial technology. “Opportunities are tremendous and it is time for a geospatial revolution, but we all face challenges, we need to work together on standardisation and harmonisation on sharing data. That is how we can create a geospatial revolution,” she said.   “Spatial planning in the Netherlands is all about precision and one of the major reasons for the same is a limitation of space and resources. To keep the city clean, competitive and protect it from climate change and to make the country liveable and comfortable call for a vision and informed decisions. This requires the crucial role of geoinformation. Dutch Master Map is so precise that the location of every house is no more than 20 cm off its precise position.”  “Digital information has become part of our daily lives and public expects the government to use and share geoinformation. We succeed in launching a number of initiatives and achieved great success in standardisation and data access. We also contributed to European geoinfomation initiatives like INSPIRE. Netherlands will continue its path-breaking work in the future.”  “Open data is important and Dutch government aims to make data available for free for all stakeholders. Earlier this year, I released national geodatabase. It is now free of charge. There used to be 2-3 applications, but after the database is released, 40 applications are using this information. Of course, safeguards need to be placed to ensure national security and privacy. Information and security are two sides of the same coin. The motto of Amsterdam – we do the data, you do the apps. I see enormous potential in geoinformation and by opening public data, we can get maximum benefit. I now look eagerly for more applications,” she added.  Earlier, in her welcome note, Dorine Burmanje, President, Board of Governors of Dutch Kadaster, the Netherlands, opined, “Developments in the field of mapping, cadastre and land administration occurred rapidly in the last few years. Geospatial information in all forms is essential to the broader society including business persons, citizens and everyone else. European Union is showing growing interest in location information. The directive of GMES is enabling capacities to be developed across Europe.” Datuk Amar Haji Awant Tengah Ali Hasan, Minister, Resource planning and environment, public utilities, industrial development, Ministry of Public Utilities Sarawak, Malaysia, pointed out that geospatial information is already part of our everyday life. Geospatial technology heightened the awareness of understanding the people and places, decision making process. He described various initiatives of the government and highlighted major projects underway in Malaysia that extensively use geospatial technology. In his introductory remarks, Sanjay Kumar, CEO, Geospatial Media & Communications, India, said, “Moving forward with sustainability is a reality. Globalisation is also a reality. This is also leading to globalisation of resources. Today, every local action has a global reaction. So, every global challenge influences local living. Geospatial technology helps understand and manage our resources. I believe geospatial industry has the true potential to be a game changer of today’s world order.”  “We as a community need to take certain important steps. We, as geospatial community, need to define ourselves better. We need to work together to raise the profile of this industry. Restrictive and restrained policies are limiting the potential of this technology. We need to work towards connecting with mainstream economy. It is time to connect our community with mainstream industries.”  “Our purpose is to define, organise and facilitate the growth of geospatial industry and to achieve the same, it would be our endeavour to evolve and organise Geospatial World magazine and Geospatial World Forum at a global level. Geospatial World Forum has brought together 1000 experts from 78 countries in the event.”  Steven Berglund, president and CEO, Trimble Navigation, said, “Geospatial information is becoming more and more central to many capabilities”. He added, “The nature of geospatial is a combination of three different technologies – sensors that capture data, software that turns data into information and the wireless communication that enables that information to be used everywhere in relatively seamless manner.”  He discussed how geospatial technology is enabling improved productivity, efficiencies and a range of capabilities that did not exist previously in various verticals like agriculture, infrastructure, transportation and business enterprise. “Geospatial may be an industry but is part of every other industry. This is an exciting period for the geospatial industry,” he said.  Exhorting that geospatial information will be the next frontier of evolution, KK Singh, CMD, Rolta opined that the innovations in geospatial technology will go a long way in addressing the issues and challenges of humanity. “Today, we live in a world that is dramatically transformed with technological advances. The immediate opportunity is to integrate the data residing in disparate places and create value out of it. The convergence of various stakeholders including users, technology providers and the industry will enable to meet the needs of the future.”  Source: Our Correspondent