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New Zealand geospatial custodian steps down

New Zealand: Kevin Sweeney has recently stepped down from his post as Geospatial Custodian after more than three years at the Land Information New Zealand’s Geospatial Office. Rob Deacon, whom Sweeney hired last year to lead the national SDI programme, will be assuming the role of Acting Geospatial Custodian following Sweeney’s departure.

During his time at the NZGO, Sweeney was responsible for New Zealand’s Geospatial Strategy and the administration of the national geospatial work programme to expand the contribution that spatial information and technologies make to country’s economic growth agenda.

In addition, he also convened and served as Chair of the national Geospatial Steering Committee, responsible for implementation of the Geospatial Strategy work programme across the New Zealand Government and industry.

“It has been an interesting experience,” said Sweeney.

“When I first came to the New Zealand Geospatial Office the office consisted of only a couple of staff and there was no formal work programme in place. Looking at it now, it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come and achieved after adding several leadership roles to support our various initiatives.”

He also said that it was a privilege working together with the rest of the NZGO team in publishing New Zealand’s Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Cookbook , launching the national geospatial data catalogue, and contributing to the passage of the cabinet paper which directs public service agencies to share geospatial information in accordance with a national SDI.

Given his substantial contribution in shaping New Zealand’s SDI, he shares that one of the many learnings he’s derived from his experience is the value of “convincing” while also “advocating”.

“I think the challenge really boils down to articulating the value proposition of investing in an SDI and at the same time supporting those who are responsible for making it happen.”

“We in the NZGO often found ourselves explaining what geospatial information is, how SDI can support economic growth and generally what is to be gained from adopting a location-based perspective to information. But while Custodian I also stressed the importance of providing technical support for practitioners and serving as their voice within government.”

Source: Future Gov