South Africa: A panel discussion, South African Geospatial Industry: Prospects & Challenges, was organised by GIS Development in Pretoria, South Africa. The panel discussed the present geospatial industry scenario in South Africa, prospects for the industry and challenges involved. The panel was moderated by Sanjay Kumar, CEO, GIS Development, India.
Dr. Derek Clark, Chief Director, National Geospatial Information and Surveys and Mapping, initiated the discussion by noting that geospatial technologies are critical for planners and decision makers. Further, he mentioned that not only the access to geospatial information but also the adequate usage of the information is a challenge. Derrick Page, Regional Director SR Southern Africa, said Africa needs to understand the usage of geospatial information for verticals like infrastructure. Fritz Vander.Merwe, Sr. Lecturer, University of Pretoria, gave a clear picture of academia’s interest in geospatial studies and threw light on the curriculum of University of Pretoria. Listing the challenges, he mentioned that the administration is reluctant to upgrade the courses. Further, he added that trained people are not interested in working in core geospatial industries as they are paid less.
Morena Letsosa, Director-Geoninfrmatics, Ekuhureleni Municipality said that service delivery is one of the major challenges along with data/ information quality which does not have uniformity.
After an enlightening round of thoughts and perspectives by the panelists, the floor was opened to discussion. Dr Clarke announced that a national committee on Spatial Data Infrastructure Act is formed that will act as a forum for geospatial literates from local government, surveying and data capture organisations to discuss on issues like information/ data sharing, standards and interoperability. To this, David Madurai, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, South Africa (COGTA) said that government is recognising the significance of geospatial technologies and forming national strategies for provincial growth..
Dr. Abraham Thomas, Council for Geosciences, South Africa suggested creation of awareness about geospatial technology using mainstream media. The session was concluded by Sanjay Kumar with recommendations like national framework should allow 4 C’s i.e. cooperate, communicate, coordinate and communicate; need to create more and more awareness; need to form national strategies and framework; sharing, coordinating public, private partnerships,; share revenue for different projects and participatory approach.
Source: Our Correspondent