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‘Strengthen technological capacity for better governance’

Hanoi, Vietnam: The second plenary at Asia Geospatial Forum 2012 was chaired by Prof Dr Mai Trong Nhuan, Rector, Vietnam National University, Hanoi. The plenary deliberated on strengthening technology capacity towards geo-governance. Opening the session, Prof Duong Ngoc Hai, Vice President, Vietnam Academy for Science and Technology (VAST) listed the strategies for space technology research and applications in Vietnam and the country’s vision for 2020.

Along with satellite launching programme, Vietnam has also developed the national research programme on space science and technology. As part of this programme, Vietnam is working on small satellite technology, application of RS, GIS, GPS and communication satellite for economic development, disaster monitoring and natural resource management. It is also trying to develop its own launching techniques and fabrication of equipments and low cost meteorological solutions. VAST is also actively involved in nurturing a variety of applications required for national development, Prof Duong said.

Kapil Choudhery, Director, Spatial DecisionsKapil Choudhery, Director, Spatial Decisions said, “Vietnam is starting a different paradigm in the use of geospatial technology.” Underscoring the significance of g-technology, Kapil said, “It’s time to discuss ways to develop, deploy and leverage this technology to address several challenges like urbanisation, resource management and climate change.” The issue before geospatial industry, according to Kapil, is not about creating geospatial data but to document that data, analyse the data, inform and communicate the right information to the right stakeholders to enable effective decisions. It is important to build on existing knowledge, share and collaborate and not to reinvent the wheel. He exhorted that geospatial industry should go beyond the ordinary and routine to provide solutions, draw upon multi-sectoral, multi-domain expertise, create synergy and competition so that the industry moves up the value chain.

He proposed a three-step approach to enable this. According to Kapil, it is important to have a stronger academic base; recognise the critical role for GIS technology providers; facilitate training and capacity building programmes to support and build on this foundation. After establishing the capacities, he said it is important to facilitate geospatial data exchange, introduce standardisation and create partnerships between government and industry. He identified accessible GIS infrastructure to be another critical element. He concluded by saying that it is important to ‘think’ GIS rather than ‘operate’ the software.

Smartphone app to mitigate hiking accidents
Discussing the rationale of developing a smartphone app for mountain-climbing accident rescue in national parks in South Korea, Yeong-Deok of Korea National Park Service said that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of park visitors in South Korea recently, simultaneously increasing the mountain-climbing accidents. The Korea National Park Service initiated a million dollar project to address the issue. Under the project, the Service created a geodatabase of the trekking trials, accident prone spots and a host of other layers. The major functions of the mobile service includes finding the closest national park using smartphone GPS tech, showing the recommended trails list, online Google map and offline map to download, danger alerts on regular trails, sending an actual accident location and phone numbers to the rescue teams. The service also provides information on a range of travel information like restaurants, accommodation and weather information.

Utilising satellite imagery for geo-governance
Lim Ser Chin, Regional Sales Director, DigitalGlobe, Singapore, discussed the utilisation of satellite imagery to achieve geo-governance objectives. He said imagery is seen as the basic building block for geo-governance and said imagery can address several geo-governance needs like topographic mapping, elevation models, landcover, cadastral/parcel mapping etc. For example, the common objectives for land sustainability is understanding land holdings/ownership, mitigating encroachments and identifying illegal land activities. DigitalGlobe provides cadastral maps, land parcel maps, country wide mosaics to address these issues, Ser Chin informed. Similarly, the common g-government objectives for food sustainability are self sufficiency in food resources, balance food imports with exports, map all agricultural fields in the country, monitoring crops and commodities. To address these issues, DigitalGlobe is providing several imagery solutions, he said.

Source: Our Correspondent