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Stalwarts envision g-ways to empower ‘billion + people’

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: The first plenary at Geospatial World Forum 2012 here got geospatial industry stalwarts together deliberating upon the ways and means to empower ‘billion + people’ in the world.

Presenting his vision for the industry, Jack Dangermond, Founder and President, Esri Inc., said that  geospatial community in general is growing, owing to many influences including cloud GIS, mobile computing, pervasive connectivity, real time measurement, crowd sourcing, big data, developer community and above all, spatially literate population, thanks to initiatives like Google Earth.

“Our world is changing rapidly and it is creating challenges for organisations and individuals,” he said and added that the work done by geospatial professionals, whether it is in software, application or hardware area, is all about understanding the challenges and building the right knowledge, to work on those challenges. Today, this kind of knowledge is being shared on the web and organisations are rapidly adopting cloud GIS platform.

Looking at the situation in a ‘musical’ way, Ola Rollen, President and CEO, Hexagon traced the evolution of music industry starting from the invention of phonogram to MP3 players, YouTube and several online tools that allow individuals to listen, share and even create music on their devices. He observed that digitalising the music industry has spread music amongst billions of people.

Turning to geospatial industry, Rollen said technology genres like cartography, remote sensing, GIS and GPS are growing individually but they need to come together to create geospatial music. “Google has entered the consumer area of this industry and it is far larger than any of the companies today. As professionals looking at the disciple, we need to look for the technologies that would enable this. Dynamic GIS holds the opportunity to create business for professional GIS community, in mining operations, city planning, facility management, utilities, etc.

“However, there are several factors preventing from unleashing the power of geospatial technology. With customer data is locked in and locked away, departments are working in silos, closed workflows with proprietary GIS and CAD systems, we are limiting the potential of geospatial technology,” he opined.

He then moved on to the preconditions to empower the billion +  people and these include breaking down the department walls, creating dynamic geospatial ecosystem, socialising geography with a fusion of web, mobile, tablet and crowd sourcing, synthesis of sensors and software to create solutions for dynamically modelling and understanding the real world.

Paul  Cheung – Director, United Nations Statistics Division and GGIM Secretariat, USA, discussed the objectives of UN GGIM and how it is achieving the same through its activities. According to Cheung, the four critical tasks before the geospatial community are – evolving a shared vision for the future in management of geospatial info nationally and globally; evolving an inclusive platform for improving, sharing and disseminating national and global g data; evolving a global statement of ethics and supporting code of conduct to enhance public trust; evolving a mutually beneficial relationship between the govt and non-govt entities.

He underscored the vision of UN GGIM to make accurate, authoritative, reliable geospatial information readily available to support national, regional and global development. In realising this vision, he said both govt sector and private sector are partners and no single party can do it alone. This also requires a global regulatory framework to safeguard the interests of govt and the public and to promote continual investment by the private sector. He emphasised on the need to work together – GGIM, governments, international organisations and private sector – to improve technology, quality and management.

Source: Our Correspondent