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INSPIRE_GWF2015: Geospatial technology trends for sustainable development

Plenary session on geospatial technology trends in progress at the Inspire_Geospatial World Forum 2015Lisbon, Portugal: Day 2 of the Inspire_Geospatial World Forum 2015 witnessed an electrifying plenary session on the existing and emerging geospatial technology trends and was moderated by Alessandro Annoni, Head of the Digital Earth and Reference Data Unit, Joint Research Centre, Italy.

Highlighting the European Commission’s plans to create a Digital Single Market, Anthony Whelan, Director, Electronic Communications Networks & Services, DG CONNECT, European Commission, Belgium, asserted that GIS-based mapping is the key to ensure that Europe is able to meet the need for an infrastructure upgrade at reduced costs. Elaborating further on Digital Single Market, he said, “An area where the Digital Single Market agenda interacts directly with geospatial industry is interoperability and standards. DG connect is putting together, piece by piece, not only infra-related legislations, but our own mapping initiatives. We started a project on mapping methodology on broadband, planned investments and demand. We are trying to develop an integrated monitoring platform, starting with the services provided over broadband network. We intend to have GIS-based telecom networks for the European community.”

Ola Rollen, President and CEO of Hexagon, at Inspire_Geospatial World Forum 2015

Talking about the transition from Big Data to Smart Data, Ola Rollen, President and CEO of Hexagon, emphasised on smart geospatial vertical solutions. Giving an example of mining, Rollen discussed planning operations over vast distances, safety, productivity aspects, and detailed how geospatial technology can contribute in connection with verticals. “By breaking down the silos in mining organisations, we can improve the productivity. The fusion of geospatial analytics with content derived from multiple sources, delivered with the help of lightweight apps, is the current trend. The new era of collaboration calls for hardware manufacturers, content providers, software providers, system integrators, government organisations and institutes coming together to create something greater than what we are today,” he said.

Insisting that the power of GIS mapping is changing the way people do business, Damian Spangrud, Director of Solutions, Esri, quipped, “Spatial is not special; it is an integral part of everyone’s life today. GIS is bringing together data, tech and people to create a framework for solving world’s most complex problems. WebGIS has transformed GIS into an open platform, empowering everyone with apps and infrastructure.”

Arjen Frentz, Committee on Drinking Water, European Federation of National Drinking Water and Waste Water Associations (EUREAU), Netherlands, detailed the pros and cons of the INSPIRE directive on water services in Europe. EUREAU provides water services to more than 400 million people in Europe. INSPIRE provides information to assess environmental threats and predict abstracted water quality. Arjen opined that INSPRIE must provide relevant and usable data for authorities and water suppliers, and restrictions must be set regarding free access to information. He also said that INSPIRE must be well integrated with other EU-legislations, especially the EU Water Framework Directive, and that downloading of data should be subject to terms of use and license agreements.

Eduardo Falcon, EVP & GM of Topcon Positioning Systems, said, “Population growth is accelerating and unstoppable. From 7 billion people in 2012, it is expected to growth to 9 billion in 2040. This is putting unprecedented demands on food, infrastructure, communications, living standards, etc. Global construction needs are growing by leaps. By 2030, the world requires $60 trillion to meet these demands, but has the ability to provide only $24 trillion. In such a scenario, the democratisation of geo-referenced data and positioning technology is a must.”

Giuseppe Sgorbati, Scientific Technical Director, Regional Agency for Environmental Protection, Italy, detailed how geospatial technologies can be used for promoting sustainable development and saving land consumption.

Source: Our correspondent