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GWF2014: Efficient resource management for smart and sustainable growth

Geneva: Resources are essential to the economy of a nation. Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth can only come from efficient resource management. Accordingly, the third plenary of Geospatial World Forum 2014 on May 7 focused on the role of geospatial technology for the utilisation of resources in an effective and efficient manner and how informative data and information could be used to make sound decisions.

Opening the session, chair and moderator Hugo de Groof, Chief Scientist, Research and Innovation Unit, European Commission — DG Environment-D-4, Governance, Information & Reporting Unit, talked about resource management in an economic as well as environment point of view; something he called the circular economy – use and reuse.

Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright, Assistant Director General & Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), the first speaker of the day spoke about IOC’s work in the area of ocean science, observations, data and information exchange and services, including global tsunami warning systems. The objectives of IOC, which is also the competent international organisation for marine scientific research under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, are summarised by its Main Lines of Action – healthy ocean ecosystems and sustained ecosystem services; effective preparedness for ocean-related hazards; increased resiliency of society to climate change through scientifically founded services; and Enhanced knowledge of emerging ocean science issues. All of these call for the same thing: Actionable knowledge about the ocean to aid people who depend upon the ocean for sustainable services.

Managing sustainable ocean systems depends upon an unbroken chain, from observations and monitoring through data management and information systems, to analysis and forecasts and finally to actionable knowledge designed by and for the end users. Too often users of ocean knowledge products are left out of system designs until the final step. The IOC convenes nations within the intergovernmental framework to coordinate ocean observation and information systems, ensuring that marine knowledge products are actionable and fit the needs of the IOC Member States — all of which need a wide variety of geospatial data. IOC also has a programme called PEGASO (People for Ecosystem-based Governance in Assessing Sustainable Development of Ocean and Coast) which depends heavily on satellite data. The spatial data infrastructure of PEGASO is a readily available tool for discovery, visualisation and delivery of ocean data.

Dr. Reinhard Schulte-Braucks, Head of Unit, Copernicus Infrastructure, DG Enterprise & Industry, European Commission
Dr. Reinhard Schulte-Braucks, Head of Unit, Copernicus Infrastructure, DG Enterprise & Industry, European Commission

Dr. Reinhard Schulte-Braucks, Head of Unit, Copernicus Infrastructure, DG Enterprise & Industry, European Commission, during his presentation gave an overview of the ambitious Copernicus programme, while underlining it as EU’s efforts for efficient resource management. Highlighting the progress made in the past one year, Dr Schulte-Braucks said the programme has secured a dedicated funding of 4.3 billion euro for 2014–2020. It has a legal basis now with the European Parliament and Council adopting the Copernicus Regulation. With the launch of Sentinel 1 April, the programme has made a great start, he said.

Maher Khoury, Senior Director, Channel EMEAR, Digital Globe, spoke on the value of accurate satellite data and Big Data analytics. Speaking on the topic ‘Turning Pixels into Actionable Insight’, Khoury said, “Resource sustainability can only be addressed if you have the information about what and where those resources are. Collecting and extracting information from the pixel is only part of the story, decision makers also need to access the relevant information and turn this into actionable insight to help them save time, resources and even lives.”

He stressed that DigitalGlobe collects 3,000,000 sq km of data every day, and exploiting this mountain of data is a huge problem. The only solution here could be leveraging the power of the crowd. Giving the example of the search operation after the Malaysia Airlines MH370 went missing, Khoury said DG’s online search campaign on Tomnod saw 7 million participants, 800 million map views and 6.7 million features tagged by users.

Outlining the efforts of geospatial industry in creating awareness among business and customers alike, Christopher Cappelli, Director of Sales, Esri, said that maps promote awareness, discovery and action. He added that seamless integration of maps with geographic data across business processes leads to resource management.

Source: Our correspondent