Map Asia 2004, the international conference on geospatial sciences ended successfully on 29th of August 2004 amidst reflective discussions on regional cooperation among heads of agencies from different countries of Asia. Map Asia is the largest Annual Asian Conference and Exhibition in the field of GIS, GPS, Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing and this year it took place at Beijing International Convention Centre (BICC), Beijing during 26 – 29 August.
Map Asia 2004 is the 3rd Map Asia event and this time was organized by the Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping, GIS Development, Center for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS), India and Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM), China and Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, were the government sponsors. The three day event with the theme ‘Building Asia – Enabling g-lateral Ties’, had 3 plenary sessions, 2 keynote sessions, 2 seminars, 3 workshops and 15 technical sessions. The conference witnessed the participation by representatives from 38 countries, with China, Thailand and USA leading in representation. The conference had 46 exhibitors showcasing their products and services.
The salient features that emerged from the closing of the conference (by 8 panelists representing experts of India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and ICA) were :
– Most mapping organizations in Asia already work with frameworks of agreements and understandings within and beyond their countries. It is time that organizations communicate and extend such collaborative structures to look into the possibility of a seamless Asian spatial data structure.
– A common charter of the key needs of each Asian local society and the potential of geospatial technology and industry to address such needs have to be worked out. If required, this may start on a bilateral basis.
– The role of space technologies and geospatial tools in certain aspects are fundamental for the whole of Asian region. These are disaster management, urban and regional planning, environmental monitoring, land management and infrastructure development. These areas need dedicated research, projects, investment and collaboration.
– Spatial data infrastructure is a common goal for all. Work has been initiated in most areas and is in various stages. There is a need to work out the aspect of international integration of NSDIs in each NSDI case studies of Asia.
The conference has already initiated bilateral talks amongst certain Asian countries in terms of research cooperation and mutual service delivery. Some of the key people who spoke in the conference were Zhang Jixian, the Acting President of Chinese Academy of Surveying and Mapping (CASM), M P Narayanan, the President of Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS), Mario Tabucanan, Provost, Asian Institute of Technology, Korn Thapparansi, Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Royal Thai Government, Prithvish Nag, Surveyor General of India, Chen Bangzhu, Director General of State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM), Preetha Pulusani, President, Intergraph, Karl Harmsen, Director, UN Centre for Science and Space Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific, Richard McKay Vice President, Leica Geosystems, GIS and Mapping Division, Julio Caeser Olimpio, ERSI Inc, Jing Guifei, Director, Division of Spatial Information Application, Ministry of Science and Technology, China, Eve Klieman, Principal Product Manager of Oracle Corp Asia Pacific, Yang Shizhong, President, Aeromatex, Sudana Ramalingam from Hewlett Packard, Vanessa Lawrence, Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey, UK, Milan Konecny and President, International Cartographic Association. Various other speakers from MACRES, Malaysia; GISTDA, Thailand; Bakosurtanal, Indonesia; Japan, etc delivered lectures and papers.