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‘Spatial enablement starts with spatial literacy’

Singapore: “Spatial enablement starts with spatial literacy,” said Dr Chaowalit Silapathong, Director of the Geo-Informatics office at the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) of Thailand. Dr Silapathong was responding to a question of FutureGov journalist, “What does it take for a country to be spatially enabled”? – is it technological resource, international standards, or human resource?

According to FutureGov, Dr Silapathong also mentioned that a country should be fully convinced with NSDI (National Spatial Data Infrastructure) initiatives. He added, “A spatially enabled country will begin to emerge when the NSDI is well underway and implemented following best practice guidelines and in accordance with the national vision and goal set out in advance to cover all sectors and all levels of the government, from national down to provincial, district, and municipalities.”

For Paul Ng, Chief Land Surveyor of the Land Information Centre, Hong Kong Lands Department, it is imperative that conducive policies regarding the collection, exchange and dissemination of geospatial data are developed – such as a comprehensive Spatial Data Infrastructure and a set of standards. Ng added that there should be sufficient resources to collect and update reliable geographic information. “To do that it requires the availability of GIS software and database software at an affordable cost,” he said.

In addition, Ng said that there is also a need for user friendly and intuitive platforms and applications for the general public to access and discover geospatial data conveniently. “Finally, it requires investment in human capital to make use of geospatial information and to apply related GIS and IT technologies”

“There should also be good regulations and arrangement to protect the privacy of people in aspects of revealing and tracking the locations of people by individuals or by institutions, no matter public or private,” he stressed.

For Ben Searle, General Manager of the Australian Government Office of Spatial Data Management, first and foremost, it requires a key understanding on the senior level of the government of the value and benefit of spatial enablement. Searle added, “International geospatial standards are crucial for any spatial enablement. If you don’t have standards you won’t have interoperability, you can’t share information – standards really are mechanisms by which spatial infrastructures are built.”

Source: FutureGov