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‘Humanity should learn to play win-win game with nature’

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: The second day of Geospatial World Forum 2012 opened with a futuristic and thought provoking address by Wobbo Joannes Ockles, Professor of Aerospace for Sustainable Engineering and Technology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. Speaking on the topic – Youth, innovation, sustainable development – Prof Ockles recounted his experience on the space flight noting that space is not the unique thing but earth is! Once you are in space, there is only one thing that is important and that is earth!
“We are at the end of industrial revolution. Our oil resources are getting exhausted. Greenhouse gas concentration is leading to heating up of the earth.  These are indicators that humanity is leading itself to catastrophe,” he said and added that humanity should learn to play win-win game with nature if it wants to sustain the species on earth. 
The first Dutch astronaut exhorted humans to turn to sun, which gives light, heat and wind and plenty of energy for everyone, much more than an individual requires. He predicted that in 10-15 years, humans would be producing more solar energy than the energy produced by all the power plants on earth put together. It is more important to look for avenues to tap solar energy for living and be energy neutral. The benefits are enormous – positive to environment, more energy than used, more clean air out, more clean water, more biodiversity than before.
Prof Ockles underscored the three rules that humans need to remember to make the new society – waste equals food; use current solar income; celebrate diversity of nature. “We have beautiful technologies to accomplish this. Young people are doing fantastic innovations. He cited examples of innovations based on solar energy, kite energy and other exciting and new ways of making energy to make cars, boats, high speed buses- which are good for environment and society.
Darwinism says we humans will survive and it is built-in their DNA. Humans should recognise that built-in DNA and work towards happy energy, a happy planet and a happy future. He concluded saying that future is not a problem and exhorted people to see future as a solution. “We are all the astronauts of space ship of earth. If we work together and we will see a fantastic future,” he concluded. 
Plenary PanelConvergence: Enabling spatial cultureThe plenary opened with Steve Hagan, Vice President – server technologies, Oracle Inc. talking on big data, cloud computing and spatial databases. He said global digital data is growing by leaps and bounds at an average rate of 40+ percent year over year. In 2009, humans have generated 0.8 zeta bytes. Going by this rate, by 2020, we would be producing 35 zeta bytes of data.  He then discussed the concepts of structured and unstructured data and the proliferation of the same because of advances in sensor technology and pervasiveness of social media.
Steve enumerated the concepts of cloud computing and how cloud is a model for enabling convenient, on demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. 
He then gave a comparative analysis of the cons of traditional large computing environment and the pros of cloud framework that allows to reduce the costs, increase the storage, is highly automated besides bringing several flexibilities for IT teams. He then enumerated cloud computing concepts including SAAS, PAAS and IAAS. 
Alain de Taeye, Board Member at Tom Tom BV traced the history of the art and science of map making right from Mercator in 16th century. In 20th century, much advanced tools have been used for map making and navigation. He pointed out that though the tools have changed and sources have changed, the objectives of map making and navigation still remain the same. 
Discussing the changing map making environment, he said hybrid map making approach is the way to go forward and that includes field survey, GPS measurements, community input, mobile mapping and data from authoritative sources. “Maps have been existing for long and have always been considered as static information. But today, with the advances in the usage of tools, maps have become quite dynamic with real time information added to them,” he opined. 
Ben Semmes , Group operating officer, PB Software enumerated how changing priorities are enabling a mature geospatial world. After Haiti earthquake in 2010, the combination of Twitter and open maps have complemented authoritative data, he said. 
There was a time when Interoperability was thought to be impossible as everyone looked at world with a different perspective. When Galileo invented the telescope and Gutenberg invented the typewriter, people had an entirely different perspective of things, according to David Schell, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, OGC. Geosciences and geodesy are important pillars of this technology that enable us to understand and to tackle the major challenges of the future. He opined that investments are going into developing trivial applications rather than pursuing solemn objectives. 
Air chief marshal Stuart Peach, Royal Air Force, UK described ways to enable geospatial culture. To realise the vision technology promises, to blend all our thoughts and experiences, training is essential, he opined. “We were working in silos and this is particularly prevalent in intelligence communities. Increasingly now, that is not the way things work. We need to fuse across traditional boundaries, inculcate the culture of sharing and enable the databases to become interoperable. It is also about the interoperability of the mind, he concluded. An interesting debate followed the presentations with several delegates coming in open to raise issues concerning the geospatial technology. 
Source: Our Correspondent