World leaders from the geospatial industry joined hands to witness the launch of Inspire_GWF in Lisbon, Portugal today and address how policies, technologies and applications – the three key factors – affect the growth of geospatial industry.
With a theme – Convergence: Policies, Practices and Processes via Public Private Partnership, the five-day long conference aims to address the need for greater coordination among policy makers, technology providers and users to benefit the industry and to highlight geospatial workflows as an enabler for successful PPPs by facilitating more informed decision making among stakeholders.
In his welcome address, Vladimir Sucha, Director General, Joint Research Centre, European Commission (EC) talked about how geospatial technologies are fuelling up the data economy. “INSPIRE is the biggest policy innovation while EC plays an imperative driver of geospatial information infrastructure. As per a report released by Deloitte, geospatial technologies fuel the data economy – about $200 billion in Europe and $500 billion in rest of the world,” Sucha said in his inaugural speech. He also talked about the programmes run by EC, such as Copernicus programme – worth $4.2 billion – and how these are helping out businesses and making data better.
“Just seven minutes after the earthquake in Nepal, our satellites started taking pictures of the quake-struck region and we were able to assess the overall damage and provide the imagery to the EC. This was possible only because we received about 4 terabytes of geo-located satellite information from our satellite. Our Galileo programme consists of 30 satellites when deployed fully,” added Sucha stressing that Public Private Sector convergence – policies, technologies and applications are the three key factors that affect the growth of the European and global geospatial industry.
He also threw light on EC’s research support programmes – FP7 and Horizon 2020 which focus on new innovations and research in the field of geo-location. “Talking of geo-location, all the dreams of smart cities are linked to geo-location and for the entire week, Lisbon is capital of geo-location,” he quipped. He also explained about European digital single market, adopted by EC a few days ago, which is the commission’s most ambitious programme in terms of policy commitment in the digital world scenario. The programme represents 500 million consumers and aims at removing the legal and interoperability barriers between organizations, systems and data which are still fragmenting the market. “The scope and value of INSPIRE is huge, it is very difficult to estimate the impact at this juncture, but it will for sure have a healthy impact on the quality of governance, policies, processes, businesses and services to the public.”
The inaugural session was moderated by Aurel Ciobanu Dordea, Director, Directorate D-Implementation, Governance & Semester, DG Environment, European Commission
Declaring the conferance open, Sanjay Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Geospatial Media and Communications, India welcomed more than 40 collaborative partners, 250 organisational heads from104 countries. Talking to an upbeat gathering, Kumar spoke of how hundreds of visionaries, thousands of scientists, millions of professionals, billions of users are influencing trillions of dollars for social and economic development.
At the inaugural session, Rudolf Strohmeier, Deputy DG, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission stated that one of the 10 priorities of the new commission is to establish a digital single market and facilitate the interaction with industry and research community. He also talked about formulating a GEO strategic plan till 2025. “GEO has significant achievements to build upon. GEOSS data sharing principle has opened up a wealth of essential global, regional and national data sets through GEOSS,” he stated adding that the geospatial community remains engaged in the next phase of GEOSS – in data access, applications and services, addressing the citizen needs.
As per Strohmeier, EC believes that there is a need to have private sector participation and political support for the success. “There is a strong need to articulate a common view on technologies, and dialogue between all these programmes. Through stronger coordination of research and innovation, we will be able to build knowledge base,” he suggested. Strohmeier ushered the leaders to understand that the European knowledge base, built on developments of INSPIRE, Copernicus, may allow Europeans access data and information to face global challenges that affect them. “We create necessary conditions for a level playing field for geospatial industry, so that we reap the benefits of geospatial professionals,” he added.
Martin O'Malley, Governor of Maryland also attended the inaugural session at the INSPIRE_GWF. In his speech, the governor said, “In this age where information can be mapped, the new rule is the rule that works. Data driven decision making with collaborative method, common platforms, timely and accurate intelligence shared by all, rapid deployment of resources, relentless following and assessment and effective tactics and strategies – we did all of this. Technology is not an end in itself. It is a means to a new beginning.”
Drawing the importance of geospatial information as the core of the evolving ecosystem of technology, economies, applications, societal forces, geospatial professionals Chris Gibson, Vice President, Trimble talked about the paradigm shift in replacement of traditional techniques with much higher productivity solutions; incremental adjacencies – incremental opportunities at comparatively low investment; emerging economies – emerging economies’ infrastructure development, leapfrogging to new work methods; technology as enabler – integration of positioning, wireless, and software technologies enable new field solutions. “A variety of industries are truly adopting geospatial capabilities into their integrated workflow rather than providing point solutions. Enlarge the role, the data and quality management; collaborate across the entire work flow; embrace the 3D model; adopt technologies early to achieve differentiation; expand competencies and provide greatar value content and adapt to specific industry needs,” suggested Gibson.
Dato’ Sri Dr James Dawos Mamit, PhD in Forest Ecology cites the application of geospatial technologies for natural resources and environmental management in Malaysia. “Malaysia is a rapidly developing country and we want to make fast decisions to catch up with the fast development. We invite service and technology providers to Malaysia so that we can use your services and tech to make quick decisions in Malaysia, which inspires to be a developed country by 2020.
Jorge Moreira Da Silva, Minister of Environment Spatial Planning and Energy, Portugal highlighted the essential tools for policy making and good governance. According to him, INSPIRE is a smart framework for sharing data among public authorities and citizens in EC. By implementing INSPIRE, the region is becoming smart and efficient. “The access and integration of spatial information from multiple sources is necessary. And data and tech interoperability is essential in development of applications,” he suggested.
The five-day long INSPIRE Geospatial World Forum is expected to be attended by a wide variety of delegates cutting across geospatial companies, user industries, minister-level government representatives and senior academia