GWF2014: Geo-enabling citizens across the world

GWF2014: Geo-enabling citizens across the world


Geneva: Geo-enabling citizens across the world with innovative technologies was the theme as the second plenary at the Geospatial World Forum 2014 witnessed high-value presentations from speakers as well as enthusiastic participation from the audience on May 6, 2014.

Introducing the session, Chair and moderator Prashant Shukle, Director General, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation (CCMEO), Earth Sciences Sector, Natural Resources Canada, highlighted that information has become ubiquitous and is changing every aspect of how people live. It is not only reshaping the economies and societies but is having a great impact on the citizens. Spatially enabled citizens increasingly use technology and share location-based knowledge and become both producers and consumers of information.

Dorine Burmanje, Chairman Executive Board, Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency, The Netherlands, first speaker from the panel, kick-started the session in an innovative way as she connected Van Gogh’s paintings with mapmaking and navigation. Highlighting how Dan Roose Gaarde, a Dutch artist and innovator, was inspired to apply the glowing lines on highways from paintings, Burmanje also stated that new geospatial technologies are inherent to citizen-centric concepts like smart and connected cities, intelligent transport, teal-time traffic systems, energy efficiency etc. “New geospatial technologies require strong partnerships between the golden triangle — government, private sector and academia media, and all three must come forward to make this a success,” she said.

Dorine Burmanje, Chairman Executive Board, Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency, The Netherlands?
Dorine Burmanje, Chairman Executive Board, Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency, The Netherlands

She also added that technology brings demand and expectation but that comes at a price. For instance, the skilled professionals who used to make maps with hand are now losing jobs and we must pay attention to that too.

Shannon Ulmer, Chief Technology Officer, Tax & Accounting, Thomson Reuters, described how geospatial information and technology can be used in the financial sector such as in commodities trading or taxation. Ulmer also showed a Reuters version of the ship movements across the earth which he claimed helps commodity traders in tracking cargo ships and possible factors that could affect commodity prices at a particular market — the path, time taken to reach destination, possible disruption en route etc. Similarly, one could use geospatial information in agriculture and compare with various data of previous years for crop forecast. Ulmer also highlighted the use of geospatial technology in land management and how it affects government revenues.

Steven Hagan, Vice President Development for Server Technologies, Oracle Corporation, said that geosmart technologies empower each one of us as a citizen. Explaining how this can be done, he said the Internet of Things and Cloud help governments to check the pulse of things — from weather to pollution, radiation levels in a city, waste management, roads and traffic conditions, sustainability, and urbanisation. In addition to speed and efficiency in governance, Hagan felt that this would also ensure transparency and inclusiveness. “It has been observed that 86% of citizens want to be connected at a time convenient to them and not when government offices are open. Technology can help us connect citizens,” he said.

Actuary Ronaldo Ocampo-Alcantar, Vice President, National Institute of Statistics Geography and Informatics (INEGI), explained how the UNGGIM in Latin America and Caribbean countries are working towards enabling and empowering citizens. He also drew up on INEGI’s work in Mexico towards this.

Source: Our correspondent