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Seminar highlights value proposition of g-tech

Dubai, UAE: Representatives from major geospatial user organisations, industry, technology companies and academia in the UAE came together at the one-day Seminar on ‘Value Proposition and Benefits of Geospatial Technology’ held at hotel Le Meridien on Tuesday. Organised by Geospatial Media and Communications Pvt. Ltd, the Seminar was an attempt to underscore the tremendous value proposition that geospatial technology brings to the UAE economy and also to explore some of the major challenges plaguing the implementation of geospatial technology in the region.

Adib Al Madani, Head of GIS Data Section at Dubai Municipality informed the attendees about some of the ambitious projects that the Municipality is undertaking. He said that the My Location project, which is the first of its kind in the world, would be a huge milestone towards connecting the common man with GIS. He also talked about the challenges facing the Municipality such as lack of budget, limited availability of trained staff and lack of cooperation between various departments in the organisation.

Ibrahim Seif from Etisalat described how one of the biggest utility companies in the Middle East is utilising geospatial technology to offer better services to the users. He also shared the organisation’s plans to implement an enterprise GIS solution in the near future which would lead to better utilisation of data provided by external agencies and better sharing of spatial data amongst different departments in Etisalat. He concluded by mentioning some of the major challenges being faced by the organisation such as low quality of spatial data, interoperability issues and lack of security.

Anil Kumar, Director Environment Information Management, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), gave an overview on how the agency is using spatial technology and the critical need for spatial information to carry out various tasks related to environment conservation. He concluded the presentation by highlighting the benefits of geospatial technology in EAD such as the ability to make informed decisions, better management of environmental resources, improved data visualisation and the ability to track and monitor environmental changes.

Adnan Sharaf, Spatial Data Advisor from Al Ain Municipality explained how the organisation is using geospatial technology and how it has simplified complex tasks such as land use planning, issuing building permits, demarcation of areas as well as planning and laying of various utility networks.

Khaled Al Sheikh, Entity Liaison Manager at the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) described how ADSIC is acting as an umbrella organisation to enable government entities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to provide integrated services designed to increase interaction with their customers. Citing the results of an ROI study from 2011, the presentation underlined how the AD-SDI program has benefitted the social, economical and environmental structure in Abu Dhabi by streamlining access to information, increasing collaboration, enhancing business environment, supporting better decision making and reducing redundancy.

Eng. Atif Ahmed Karrani, Managing Director of IT Department at Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority highlighted the crucial role that SEWA plays in providing public services and how geospatial technology has streamlined various processes involved in the agency’s day-to-day activities. He concluded by saying that the organisation’s goal to create an enterprise level GIS requires some meticulous planning and reflection to overcome some of the hurdles in the way.

The Seminar concluded with a panel discussion where panellists deliberated on various issues such as capacity building, challenges facing the government and private sector in implementing geospatial technology and how geospatial technology can help play an important role in improving the overall economy of a country.

Source: Our Correspondent