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Sabah invites geospatial industry to help in sustainable industrialisation

Sabah: The strategic geographic location of Malaysia makes it a gateway to other markets. This, in addition to the ongoing big-ticket domestic projects, also makes it an ideal candidate to harness the power of geospatial data and technologies, said Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakun Haji Johari, President and Chief Executive, Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA).

Speaking at the first plenary session of the two-day Malaysia Geospatial Forum, which opened here today, Dr Johari also gave an open invitation to the geospatial industry to come and help in Sabah’s industrial development. SEDIA, which is in charge of the 18-year development project called the Sabah Investment Corridor, highlighted the tremendous potential of the region given its rich natural resource wealth and biodiversity. Listing out a number of areas of opportunities where geospatial technology could play a big role, he said sectors like oil & gas, energy, tourism and agriculture are mainstay of the Sabah economy and there is a huge scope for geoinformation and technology in each of these fields. He said that while many in the tourism sector have already switched to geo-tourism by using these technologies for selecting & developing tourism site, marketing, customer relationship and travel management, the agriculture sector too is slowly taking to precision agriculture technology incorporating GPS, GIS, yield monitor, variable rate technology, and remote sensing technologies. Work is also under progress on virtual agro-business portals for online agri-bazaar/agro-logistics. Given the recent discovery of oil and gas resources, the Sabah region is now a hot bed for the energy sector and this is also where the most advanced mining technologies could play a big role.

The geospatial industry in general and the surveyor community in particular has an important role to play in the growth of the Sabah region, said Lee Ming Tong, Advisor, Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) Lahad Datu. Set-up in Jan 2005 as the first comprehensively developed (infrastructure) palm oil industrial cluster in the world by the state government of Sabah, POIC Sabah's main mission is to add value to the massive palm oil and palm biomass business in the region, which is estimated to be worth around RM 100 billion in development potential. Lee highlighted how geospatial technology involving remote sensing, GIS, GPS could play a significant role in the development of the palm oil sector by making it more sustainable, environment friendly and cost-effective. He added that modern surveying techniques may have wide applications in areas such as land development, logistics management, environment monitoring, natural resource management and crop production monitoring and public safety.

Speaking on leveraging geospatial technology in the management of ocean and coastal resources, Nor Aieni Haji Mokhtar , National Oceanography Directorate, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, said that the value of Malaysia’s maritime sector is generated by a wide range of economic and resource use activities. Underlining that a healthy ocean sector is essential for a high-income nation, she said that her organisation is using numerous techniques to collect and provide ocean data – satellite imagery, numerical modelling and in-situ observations, all three fields where geospatial technology is widely used. The organisation is also promoting training and development of applications for sustainble ocean under a programme called MALESCO besides developing a tool called Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). The Directorate has also set up the National Oceanographic Data Centre (MyNODC) for ocean experts and users.

Source: Our Correspondent