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Plenary showcases g-tech in nation building

Melaka, Malaysia: The second plenary session on the inaugural day of Malaysia Geospatial Forum explored various facets related to geospatial technology in nation building in Malaysia. 
Tech from spaceDr. Mustafa Din Subari, Director General, National Space Agency, Malaysia explored the connection of “space” with “geospatial” and asserted that the geospatial sector should be part of space sector. In this direction, he underlined role of the upcoming National Space Policy, which is in final stages of being drafted, in acting as a catalyst to development of the geospatial industry in Malaysia, in particular the downstream geospatial-related industries such as location-based services. The two thrust areas of this policy which have great relevance for the geospatial sector are: nurturing the space industry; and enhancing the national space programmes. Nurturing the space industry will make provisions for aspects like setting up the space government-industry council; incubation programmes for start-ups and tax incentives; whereas the enhancement of national space programme will include developing the national satellite programme. 
Water resource management A key asset of a nation is water resources and Dato’ Ir. Lim Chow Hock, Director, River Basin and Coastal Zone Management, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Malaysia detailed the audience about a programme undertaken by the Department to “rehabilitate” rivers, or to restore the degrading rivers to its original condition with a healthy eco-system and recreate the dynamic balance and function of the river to a sustainable state to maximize the economic and social benefits derived from water resources. According to Dato Hock, geospatial data, capturing the location and ground condition is a very useful information tool that helps in making sound decision within a river basin. The geospatial information used in river basin management included topographical map, cadastral map, satellite images, DEM (LiDAR or IFSAR), structures (dam, bed control, barrage, gates, log boom etc.), hydrological stations (water level, rainfall) and water quality stations. 
City planning Effectively developing its megacities is important for a nation with firm economic growth targets. The Malaysian megacity, Kuala Lumpur which is on its future course of development and has a development plan blueprint in place, has incorporated geospatial technology in various aspects of city planning, said Nik Mastura Nik Mohammad, Deputy Director of Physical Planning, Kuala Lumpur City Council, Malaysia. She informed that spatial data in GIS format was first developed in-house fully by the Department of Physical Planning in preparing the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020. She highlighted how is being used to address various aspects of the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, including land use zoning, development intensity, environmental protection zones, heritage zones, transit planning zones, height control zones, commercial zones, residential zones and contributing to the management of proposed transit corridors. The Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 also has provision for executive information system (EIS), the objective of which is to provide a Web-based, multimedia-based and GIS based information to the end users and to have the following information at “finger tips”: written statements/reports; maps and plans and GIS database. 
Geospatial data for sustainable development Nations should focus not just on development, but sustainable development. Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Geospatial solutions are necessary to support decision making for sustainable development, said Fuziah Binti Abu Hanifah, Director, MaCGDI, Malaysia. A key requirement for geospatial solutions is the availability of the geospatial information, and geospatial data infrastructure can facilitate availability and sharing of the geospatial information. Malaysian national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI) – MyGDI is one such initiative by the government of Malaysia to enhance the awareness about data availability and improve access to geospatial information by facilitating data sharing among participating agencies, informed Fuziah Binti. She urged to recognise geospatial information as “infrastructure” and for use of fundamental dataset for business information.  
Source: Our correspondent