Dubai, UAE: “The United Arab Emirates is a place of opportunities, growth and success. I thank United Arab Emirates for unparalleled GIS adoption in the government, 20 years of success in GIS, and the 6th annual GISWORX,” said Eng Mohamed Abuziad, CEO, GISTEC, while welcoming the audience at GISWORX’11. The three-day GIS workshop and exhibition, the Middle East’s largest event for Esri users, got off to a start here today. GISTEC is organising the event.
Abuziad also thanked the “active, developed and demanding” UAE users and informed the audience that the company wants to be more involved and engaged in GIS education and GIS society. While welcoming and thanking event partners, he also emphasised on the presence of smartphone and PDA industry leaders and observed that this category can make a difference to GIS.
Getting the plenary session under way, Dean Angelides of Esri deliberated upon whether a technology that was just a research tool can be taken to society, to everyone and in everyday lives. He observed that this is possible, and proceeded to discuss factors that are contributing to making it a reality. According to him, GIS is becoming a national government infrastructure, across the globe. What is allowing us to have a collective geographic understanding is convergence of forces like computing and networks, measurement, GIS software, geographic science and open data policies. This is enabling a pervasive geospatial platform. He also remarked that Web-based geospatial technology is emerging that is enabling many new types of applications and making GIS available to everyone. Other factors contributing to the all-pervasiveness of GIS are the integration of crowd sourcing and social media giving rise to new sources of geospatial information, as seen in recent natural disasters.
Abdul Karim Al Raeisi, Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Center (ADSIC) informed the participants about Abu Dhabi’s SDI initiatives. According to him, Abu Dhabi Spatial Infrastructure Program (AD-SDI) has grown from the institutional stage and into galvanising a Geospatial Information, Technology and Services (GITS) foundation towards a geo mature Abu Dhabi. He added that the current focus of ADSDI is on GITS’s capacity building, with the three elements of capacity building framework being planning, spatial thinking and implementation monitoring. For informed decision making, it is important to provide right information at the right time. At AD-SDI, 51 organisations are collaborating to provide the right information, he informed.
Mansour Raad of Esri gave the audience demonstrations related to ArcGIS Viewer for Flex Viewer. He built a live application before the audience to demonstrate how to build an application without resorting to XML. The buzzwords to reckon with in the future according to him are augmented reality, semantics, making sense of web-information, geocollaboration, and sensor fusion. He also enthralled the participants with a demonstration on the latter, creating an experience from the movie “Minority Report,” involving commands being carried out on screen without physically coming in contact with any peripheral equipment, only a working through a sensor.
While aerial and satellite imagery is increasingly becoming core to the geospatial industry, its effectiveness depends on the quality of imagery used in any application. Brad Schmidt of PCI Geomatics highlighted the factors that can lead to less than perfect imagery to work on and how to extract the maximum value from imagery. According to him, imagery as it arrives can be geometrically distorted, geographically misaligned, obstructed by haze and can have poor resolution. He briefed the audience about solutions from PCI Geomatics including GeoImaging Accelerator that can correct these discrepancies and maximise the value of ArcGIS for imagery.
Hamden of Samsung illustrated how Galaxy Tab is fitting into the GIS ecosystem, with the company’s emphasis on strong B2B approach and utilising its smart products in the process. He informed that Galaxy Tab can secure on-field/ site process data collection by mobile data agents due to its portable size of 7 inches and various data collection peripherals including GIS, GPS and WiFi. The Tab can also adapt to any changes and requirements from ArcGIS. He concluded that the product aims to enable businesses to go mobile.
Hozefa Saylawala of Motorola too deliberated upon the increasing development of mobility in GIS. The three elements in enterprise mobility according to him are seamless connectivity, real-time information and devices which support these. He gave the example of Pacific Gas & Electric to demonstrate the benefits of enterprise mobility.
Cloud vs desktop
Tracking the evolution of GIS, Tom Counts of 3-GIS observed that desktop has long been the king and has also been very expensive. Tom shared with the audience the cost benefits of Web-based computing. These benefits are accrued in terms of IT support / training, installation and hardware and software costs. To illustrate his point, he presented findings of a comparison between total cost of ownership (excluding hardware and implementation) for cloud model vs desktop model for 200 users over three years. For cloud model, the cost was USD 2865 per user while for desktop model, the cost was USD 11,450 per user.
Intelligent 3D city models
Ron Lake of Galdos shared with the participants how to maximise value in intelligent 3D city models. He raised the issue of urban challenges in the 21st century and observed that the problems are urgent and involve complex feedback. In such scenario, intelligent city models can play a significant role. These are city models that feature increased use of sensors, incorporate open standards and provide platform for innovation. However, having a city model itself is not sufficient; a crucial link is data sharing. According to him, the elements of information sharing infrastructure are creating / maintaining communities, common community information, securing community information, information sharing views and common views. He also observed how open standards like GML and information infrastructure technologies can help realise model potential.
John Ellenberger of Space Time Research shared the evolving trends in data dissemination vis-à-vis data volume. He observed that the advent of electronic publishing has led to exponential data growth. Volume may lead to missing out on important data. This is necessitating the need for a new way of data dissemination which offers low cost of production, zero marginal distribution cost, unlocks as much data as possible, scales easily, provides insight and allows for end-user guided self-service. He also highlighted the increasing usage of interactive graphics.
The session also featured an update on ArcGIS 10 and features of ArcGIS online. The exhibition witnessed participation from leading IT and geospatial companies active in the region.
Source: Our correspondent