Cape Town, South Africa: Even as Africa is emerging as a global investment hotspot, Map Africa 2010 kick-started to an elegant inaugural session here today to assess the ‘Geospatial Readiness for Building Africa.’
As South Africa is undergoing a period of reform, development and reconception, it is essential to have a record of what was, what is and what would be. Geospatial information is at the core of this process, according to Gugile Nkwinti, Minister, Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform, South Africa. In his inaugural address, Gugile said that geoinformation is a prerequisite for sustainable development and South Africa is fortunate to have a legacy of geoinformation.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has a repository of aerial photography dating back to 1930s. This is proving to be extremely valuable in resolving land disputes and exploiting the full potential of the country. Geospatial data is more than a map, more than an image – it is data that is intelligent. South Africa is a land of opportunities today and is paving the path to sustainable development. Sectors like utilities, disaster management, climate change, public safety, infrastructure etc are dedicatedly using geospatial technologies to give the continent a new direction.
Earlier, welcoming the gathering, Sanjay Kumar, CEO, GIS Development shared the thought process behind organising the conference. He said that Map Africa aims to be regional and continental geospatial forum to bring policy makers, NMOs, industry and end users of geospatial technology along with academia to come together, exchange thought and have dialogue with each other to promote this technology in the continent. He called on the African geospatial community to take up the second mover advantage and start incorporating latest technologies by working with international companies. He concluded by saying that a better SDI is a prerequisite for better governance.
Hussein O Farah, Director General, RCMRD discussed the efforts of the regional centre whose mandate is to promote the development and use of geoinformation in national development. He welcomed and encouraged the gathering to fully exploit the giveaways of the conference and move forward to use geographic information for national development in their respective countries.
Touching upon the theme of the conference, Aida Opoku Mensah, Director, ICT and S&T, UN ECA, said that without g-readiness, Africa cannot be built. The excuse in the past for not using spatial information in planning, development and project implementation was that it was expensive and difficult to deploy. But with developments in technology and ease of accessibility, this is no longer an issue.
Map Africa 2010, which is a congregation of delegates from about 25 African nations and 40 nations from across the world, has been a melting pot of geospatial professionals, policy makers, industry and academia to understand the technology trends, share knowledge and partner with each other for the quick development of the continent.
Source: Our correspondent