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Malaysia explores geospatial opportunities

Melaka, Malaysia: The World Heritage City of Melaka was the backdrop to the 4th Malaysia Geospatial Forum as the exclusive conference and exhibition for the Malaysia geospatial industry, organised by Geospatial Media & Communications got under way today to deliberate upon the role and presence of geospatial technology in building the nation’s economy. 
Welcoming the audience on behalf of the Malaysia State Government, Abdul Jamil Bin Arshad, Director, Department of Town & Country Planning Melaka, Malaysia elaborated upon the economic growth envisioned by the nation and role of geospatial technology in the process. He said that ‘Vision 2020’, introduced by the former Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad, calls for the nation to be self-sufficient, industrialised and fully developed country, by the year 2020. In its Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011-15), the Malaysian Government has identified key sectors that have the highest potential to contribute significantly to the growth to the economy. These sectors, among others, include ICT, tourism, agriculture, plantation, oil and gas, and business services. In addition to that, the Government also introduced six National Key Result Areas, in order to gauge government performance towards achieving Vision 2020, which are reducing crime, fighting corruption, improving student outcomes, raising living standards of low-income households, improving rural basic infrastructure and improving urban public transport. These sectors offer tremendous opportunities for the geospatial industry to tap into. He stressed that with the government moving forward with new economic strategy, it is high time for the geospatial industry to demonstrate that geospatial technology can be the digital impetus to the country’s economic transformation vision. The theme of the conference “Geospatial Technology: Digital Impetus to Economic Transformation,” is very apt in this regard, he opined. The state of Melaka too recognises the relevance of use and applicability of geospatial information technology in various spheres of human activity and society and is taking suitable measures to develop and promote it, he informed.
Creating geospatial environment for economic growthThe first plenary session of the day, Creating Geospatial Environment for Economic Growth, saw deliberations upon the major projects and sectors in Malaysia which provide huge opportunities, along with industry solutions to facilitate economic development processes.
Multipurpose cadastre Y. Bhg Datuk Prof. Sr. Dr. Abdul Kadir Taib, Director General, Department of Survey & Mapping, Malaysia highlighted the potential of a multipurpose cadastre in supporting spatially enabled government, private sectors and society and to expand computer support in the process of visualisation, organisation and management of useful land information. Such a multipurpose cadastre is being developed in Malaysia under the 10th Malaysian Plan which is a long way from the cadastre developed in 1885 which had a single purpose – issuance of land title. Detailing about the multipurpose cadastre (MPC) further, Dato Kadir informed that  MPC is principally a survey-accurate national digital cadastral database (NDCDB) that have been populated, adjusted  and undergone quality checks at every level of its formation and large scale  geospatial datasets that mostly will be acquired from measurement of mobile terrestrial laser scanner survey. The spatially enabled MPC will integrate land information system which containing survey accurate cadastre, topography, man-made features and cultural (e.g., land use, demographics) information in a common and accurate reference framework. The key components of MPC are national digital cadastral database plus large-scale geographic features. An important information required to support realisation of ubiquitous MPC is street addresses. The MPC can extend benefits in various areas of governance including public works, fire management, cadastral/records, police, public facilities, revenue, planning and building. The other benefits of MPC include property inventory, project implementation and monitoring, crime prevention and detection, utility management, school management, national identity cards, census mapping, population estimates, electoral processes and agricultural yield prediction, informed Dato Kadir.
Discovering tourism with GISThe Malaysian state of Perak has chosen 2012 as the Visit Perak Year. As part of Visit Perak Year, the state has introduced 10 tourism icons, displaying the state’s rich tourism attractions including natural attractions, manmade attractions, and heritage and culture. The state is promoting these icons through Web GIS, informed Dato Dr. Dolbani Bin Mijan, Director, Department of Town and Country Planning Perak, Malaysia. Tourism maps for the state existed earlier, but through this project, the department has published the same on the Web. The department is managing and publishing layers using OGC Web Map Services like WFS / WMS through Geoserver. Through this project, the aim of the department is to publish its current data layer on tourist attractions in Perak, to develop know-how on WEB-GIS development using FOSS4G solutions and complement the existing Perak tourism website. The organisation is able deliver more geospatial information to the Perak-GIS stakeholder in efficient way. This data is also linked to Google. By searching for the popular tourism attractions in the state on Google, visitors can get more geo-tagged information about the attraction. 
Industry solutions Tan Teik Eooi of Intergraph Corporation, Security, Government & Infrastructure Division, highlighted the role of GEO-ICT solutions as a smarter way to enable the nations. Today, more than ever before, cities around the world need to be smarter and safer, he observed. Cities need to develop an architecture in which technology can evolve and grow. The challenges of data explosion, population growth, demographic change, urbanisation and resource depletion mean that the world’s great cities need to adapt to survive and thrive over the coming decades. He referred to a Frost & Sullivan estimate according to which by 2025, 8 of the top 20 megacities will be in the Asia-Pacific region alone. 
Geospatial and incident information can impact key areas that affect all the people living in cities; these are smart governance, safe cities and smart grid. Elaborating upon the role of GEO-ICT, he said that GeoICT Links spatial awareness, incident command, intelligent video and sensor information into a single system and integrate with local, state & federal government agencies. Geospatial technology provides actionable intelligence which can facilitate smart decisions by providing a pictorial / graphical and multi temporal perspective on complex situations. 
Observing that “If GIS data collection is worth doing, it’s worth doing right,” Ray Chung, APAC Regional Manager – Trimble Navigation, highlighted the benefits of digital field data collection over manual data collection to maximise its importance in decision making. Traditional paper methods are cumbersome and prone to inaccuracies, a lot of which can result during the transcription of field workers’ data sheets by data entry personnel. The systems offered by the company are designed for GIS and integrated with supportive technologies so everything is available whenever it is needed, he said. Some of the benefits of these systems over traditional methods including data immediacy, knowledge retention and steamlining of field-to-office workflow. Source: Our correspondent