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Map Malaysia: Plenary highlights the need of ‘geospatial for all

Penang, April 21: The plenary session on the first day of Map Malaysia 2009 had the theme ‘Geospatial for all – All for Geospatial’. The session was chaired by Dato` Nik Nasruddin Mahmood, Executive Chairman, Ground Data Solutions Sdn Bhd, Malaysia. This significant session had four presentations on the use of geospatial data in user organisations, and how these organisations are using this information for the betterment of people.

Dato` Prof. Sr. Dr. Abdul Kadir Bin Taib, Deputy Director General, JUPEM, Malaysia threw light on the significant work being done by JUPEM as the premier mapping agency of the country. Dato` Kadir emphasised the fact that geographic data is the key element in development. He highlighted the technological advancements adopted by JUPEM, such as MyRTK (real time telematic station), MyGEOID (datum for Sarawak and Sabha), GDM2000 (new datum for complete country) and various databases. He also informed the gathering about the establishment of a new section called ‘Utility Mapping’ under JUPEM (in 2007), to specifically address the needs of utility sector. He also highlighted new concepts taken up by JUPEM like F2F (field to finish concept) and eKadastre. He spoke about the work being done by MyGDI and its objective in developing public –private partnerships.

The second speaker of the session was Dato` Ir. Ahmad Husaini Sulaiman, Director General, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Malaysia. Dato` Ir. Ahmad Hussaini gave a presentation on how his department is using geospatial data to not only work towards mitigation and management of floods in various provinces of Malaysia, but also how they are using this technology to survey and to develop warning systems and simulation models to be better prepared for flood instances.

The next presentation was from Saw Bun Leong, Director, Central Forecast, Malaysian Meterologival Department, Malaysia. He presented various climate trends in the use of geographic information in weather monitoring, forecasting and warning in Malaysia. He advocated the use of geospatial technologies for better preparedness vis-a-vis climate change.

The last speaker in this session was Abdul Azhar Ibrahim, Coordinator, Penang GIS Centre, Malaysia. In his presentation, he outlined the background that led to the formulation of PEGIS (Penang GIS centre) and how it started initially as a pilot project. He also discussed challenges such as lack of trained manpower, lack of cooperation by agencies controlling data and the lack of policy and guidelines during the implementation of the project.

The session brought forth to sharp focus the fact that the user agencies in Malaysia are the main drivers for growth in the country and geospatial technologies is an important component of their operations.