Bahrain, Oman, December 2007 – Taking place for the first time in the Sultanate of Oman, the ESRI Middle East & North Africa User Conference (MEAUC), held October 29–31, 2007, provided a collaborative forum for both new and advanced users of geospatial technology. Jack Dangermond, ESRI president, and high-level delegates from Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attested to the value of geographic information system (GIS) technology before regional leaders and professionals.
Following Dangermond’s Keynote Address, regional leaders in industries ranging from town planning to rural affairs shared their thoughts on the significance of GIS software. The 10th annual MEAUC was held under the patronage of H.E. Ahmed bin Abdulnabi Macki, minister of national economy and deputy chairman of the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council in Oman.
During his presentation, Macki stressed that GIS would play a vital role in the future of the Middle East and North Africa, providing information management and key planning tools. Like the rest of the region, Oman is developing swiftly; tourism increased more than 50 percent in three years. In some areas, major changes in land use are being driven by sweeping industrialization. Macki also emphasized that Oman has faced challenges in the past due to its limited mapping and geographic data resources. GIS can be used to support Oman’s plans for the future, said Macki.
“This year’s conference provided an opportunity for the region’s leaders, professionals, and GIS users to discover and explore GIS solutions together,” said Dangermond. “For individuals to travel to and participate in this event shows a deep commitment to finding and developing solutions that will better our world.”
Hosted by ESRI Muscat CO LLC and Khatib & Alami and Partners, MEAUC drew close to 500 professionals from more than 15 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Held at the seaside Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, the conference gave attendees the opportunity to hear user presentations, participate in technical workshops, see an array of exhibitors’ products and services, pose questions to ESRI experts, and receive awards for achievements such as best user paper. ArcGIS software tips and tricks, as well as ESRI products on the horizon, were also discussed. The Map Gallery and Advanced Cartography workshop provided further insight on the power of maps in solving problems and addressing issues. The gala barbecue dinner was held overlooking the Gulf of Oman, where visitors could network and socialize in a relaxed setting.