Sri Lanka Geospatial Forum receives overwhelming response

Sri Lanka Geospatial Forum receives overwhelming response


Colombo: The 1st edition of Sri Lanka’s most dynamic geospatial event, Sri Lanka Geospatial Forum, witnessed a huge response in Colombo. The conference, which was held recently, was attended by over 250 delegates. The day one of the conference revolved around the theme “Geospatial Empowering Nation’s Growth”.

In his welcome address, S M W Fernando, Surveyor General of Sri Lanka said that Survey Department is all geared up to implement advanced geospatial technologies for nation’s growth and prosperity. Christopher K Tucker, Chairman and CEO, The Map Story Foundation, USA, in his presentation, introduced the concept of Map Story Foundation. He said that geospatial vision of any enterprise, government or nation is increasingly fundamental to anybody’s success. The role of geospatial interoperability standards, such as the Open Geospatial Consortiums standards is essential in these processes. Giving the industry perspective, Rajan Aiyer, Managing Director – SAARC Region, Trimble Navigation Pvt. Ltd., India, expressed his overview on geospatial technologies available and their relevance to Sri Lanka’s development in various spheres of activities.

The thought provoking and informative plenary session witnessed speakers from various domain deliberating on defining Srilanka’s geospatial vision. The session was chaired by Prof. Ranjith Premalal De Silva, Vice Chancellor, Uva Wellassa University, founder and former president, GIS society of Sri Lanka. In his opening address he highlighted the status of geospatial community in Sri Lanka. He also shared his views on future directions pertaining to geospatial industry, need for spatial data policy along with clear guidance for NSDI.

P.M.P. Udayakantha, Senior Assistant Secretary and Senior Deputy, Surveyor General, Department of Survey, Sri Lanka talked about the NSDI (National Spatial Data Infrastructure). He talked about the elements of NSDI-technology, policies & institutional arrangements, basics of data sharing, current trends – policy and legal, benefits of using these standards. He concluded his talk by showing the way forward of workable options like national steering committee, policy on spatial information sharing, defined standards / formats, developed procedures / infrastructure etc.

Srikantha MS, Regional Sales Manager – South India and Sri Lanka, Intergraph SG&I, India, simplified his presentation by stating that GIS is used in everyday activity without end-users realising it. He further stressed on the fact that local government agencies use GIS technology for scientific investigations, resource management, asset management, archaeology, environmental impact. He also elucidated how decision makers benefit from geographic information, coupled with the associated spatial data infrastructure (SDI) that supports information discovery, access, data and publication of spatial information.

John Day / Director-Global, Defence, Esri, USA gave a presentation on use of GIS as a platform for geospatial intelligence. He specified that advanced geospatial platform is empowering the military and national security decision makers with geospatial intelligence to support operations and complex missions.

The session on ‘Varied Roles and Contributions of Geospatial Technologies Towards Nation’s Growth’, was attended by several administrators and decision makers from various departments. It was chaired by Wasantha Deshapriya, Program Director- Re-engineering Government, Information and Communication Technology Agency, Sri Lanka.

In his opening address, he said that currently over 150 government eServices are available in Sri Lanka and ICTA also started an exercise to provide open data through the government web portal. Many government organisations have also implemented projects with GIS data for obtaining visual understanding on various aspects and also to provide services through real time visualisation.

Srinibas Patnaik, Senior Director – SAARC DigitalGlobe, India, focussed on current DigitalGlobe constellation, upcoming DigitalGlobe constellation additions and the analysis done for providing deep insight to inform critical decisions.

Eng. Rohan Seneviratne, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, gave a presentation on contribution of geospatial technologies in urban regeneration programmes in metro Colombo region. He began his talk with the challenges faced by the nation like rapid urbanisation, under-served settlements and health issues. He further shared the vision of the nations of having competitive, dynamic and liveable cities to reach its aspiration of becoming an upper middle income economy. He then concluded his talk by stating that geospatial technology can fill the gap effectively and lead to desired modernisation and urbanisation.

How GIS and survey technologies work together for a better nation, was explained by Sarath Jayatilaka, Executive Council Member, Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) and Past President of Institute of Surveyors, Sri Lanka. He stressed on the need for a coordination mechanism for the use of geospatial data.

The session on Role of Geospatial for Urban Development and Modernisation was chaired by Prof. Sohan Wijesekara, Chairman, International Center for Geo Informatics Applications and Training, Sri Lanka. He focussed on application potential of geospatial technologies and associated concerns for urbanisation. Pushpa Gamage, Director, GeoInformatics Urban Development Authority, Sri Lanka, shared her views on ‘Geospatial Makes City Planners Life Much Easier, Sri Lankan Perspective of Usage of Geospatial Information and Tool in Urban Planning’.

Suranga Kahandawa, Disaster Risk Management Specialist, South Asia Disaster Risk and Climate Change Unit of the World Bank, Sri Lanka and Srimal Samansiri, Assistant Director – Research and Development, Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka, gave presentation on Open Data and Tools to Strengthen Disaster Resilience.

Source: Our Correspondent