Noida, India: The 11th ESRI India User Conference got off to a start in Noida with the theme ‘GIS: Designing our Future.’ The conference is a forum for GIS professionals in the Indian subcontinent to share knowledge and their work with other users and understand new advancements and directions in ESRI technologies and solutions.
In his address, Jack Dangermond, President, ESRI Inc. observed that GIS is about integration as one of its core ideas – it allows us to integrate and share what we know about the world. He highlighted some of the popular applications of GIS, including planning, natural resource management, planning for and responding to natural disasters, land information system, health, public safety and law enforcement, climate change, utilities, public works and telecom, transportation, private enterprise, defence and security, providing situation awareness, status monitoring and performance measurement and accountability.
A significant aspect of Dangermond’s address was the GeoDesign vision. Expressing concern that the rapidly changing world is challenging our sustainability, Jack highlighted how GIS can address this sustainability. GIS is changing how we organise and reason, collaborate and communicate. However it is not enough to just map and measure everything. GeoDesign takes this knowledge and integrates it with the design process, a logical extension of all measurement technology. This process can result in ability to create a future that is sustainable. According to him, GIS should depict the world not only as it is, but as it should be.
Discussing the changes being witnessed in the technology of GIS, Dangermond observed that GIS is moving to Web, enabled by cloud architecture, web services, mashups, crowd sourcing and open data sharing policies. This is connecting GIS professionals world wide. Web-based GIS is also enabling new types of applications. Place-based approach is increasing the impact of government programmes and projects. However, while cloud is the new frontier, he opined that it is not replacing desktop.
Vision and initiatives
Earlier, Rajesh Mathur, Vice Chairman, NIIT GIS Ltd shared the company’s vision for India. He talked about GIS being an essential ingredient for inclusive economic development, sustainable development protecting environment and natural resources, building world class infrastructure and internal security. Rajesh shared initiatives of ESRI India to serve its users more efficiently. The initiatives pertain to technical support, quality of processes and alert system for renewal of annual maintenance contract. The audience was also informed that ESRI India has been appointed as India distributor of ITT Visual Information Solution for ENVI Image Processing and Analysis software. Another achievement of ESRI India is its new unit at Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh for manufacture of ESRI software and data conversion services.
Some of the key users for ESRI India are the major projects being undertaken in India. These include Restructured Accelerated Power Development & Reforms Programme of Ministry of Power, Water Resources Information System by RRSSC, Jodhpur, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Census 2011 by Registrar General of India, Karnataka Disaster Management Portal by Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre and Tamil Nadu road sector project.
P. Rajendran, COO, NIIT Ltd emphasised on major issues to be addressed while charting out the future. These concern basic and world-class infrastructure, telecom, food security, energy security, health security, research and technology, national security and livelihood security. He observed that all these issues for India at 75 in 2022 have a spatial context. The key drivers of geospatial technology identified by him include Government of India’s thrust on e-governance projects and public-private partnership. An issue to be addressed in GIS is capacity building. In terms of touch of geospatial, there is a need to reach where computer usage is – a majority of people have learnt to maneuver their way around a computer intuitively without a formal training.
The session on technology exposition witnessed presentations by ITT VIS, Telvent and IBM India. Susan Parks of ITT VIS highlighted the benefits of integration of ESRI’s ArcGIS and ITT’s ENVI software including delivery of analysis capability as services for enterprise. Ricardo Ferreyros of Telvent Utilities Group described the key benefits of smart grids including improved resources and increased operating efficiency and the benefits of Arc FM technology. He emphasised on need for single source of data and that each group of an organisation should leverage the same data. Subrata Mitra of IBM India highlighted the company’s GIS initiatives in the field of public safety, health, agriculture, asset management and tax and revenue management.
The delegates at the conference had a sneak peek into the soon-to-be-released ArcGIS. The new version aims to make GIS much simpler and productive. Its themes include usability, performance and functionality. The version has the concept of intelligent maps wherein all content can be thought of as a map which carries all the knowledge. Other benefits include integrated search, 3D GIS, time awareness and dynamic processing and imagery. The version expands mobile GIS, connecting mobile workers and making them part of the enterprise. The version also provides many basemaps. Users can share maps, data and applications. They can also choose who to share it with. ArcGIS 10 aims to be all-pervasive and providing the full power of GIS to everyone. Some other features include license checkout, smarter table of contents, new methods for simplifying and advancing cartography, more intuitive approach in editing, template sharing and parcel management, better raster analysis and easier and enhanced data management through direct SQL access.
One of the initiatives of ESRI India towards its users is the introduction of Special Achievement in GIS, India (SAG India) Awards. These awards are recognition of not only technological innovation but also contribution towards society. The recipients of this year’s awards are National Informatics Centre, Registrar General of India and Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre.
Source: By Our Correspondent