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Technologies galore for GIS enthusiasts

Dubai, UAE: The second day of GISWORX’11 being held here witnessed a range of workshops being conducted for GIS users and enthusiasts, ranging from defence, public security, utilities, imagery data integration and government solutions.

Richard Weiss of Esri UK and Anthony Colby of Helyx SIS addressed a session on the use of GIS in public safety and law enforcement. They informed the audience about a range of GIS products and techniques that have been developed by their companies in this direction, with an aim to enable efficient policing by understanding spatial pattern of crime. Richard briefed the audience about Crime Analyst, an ArcGIS Extension for public safety. According to Richard, the geodata required in understanding patterns of crime include crime location, land use, census, roads, demographics and aggregated statistics. Key tools of Crime Analyst include Crime Hotspots to easily create crime hotspots maps, Temporal Analysis tool to understand the time distribution pattern of crime, Querying Data to exact complex data queries and Journey to Crime which enables drawing out a spatial pattern of criminals’ movements. It also enables tracking the spatial aspects of objects lost and found. Anthony briefed the audience about DragonMap from Helyx.

Utilities was another focus of the day as utility organisations of the region shared their experiences at the Esri Middle East and Africa Utility User Group being held along with the workshops. Bill Meehan, head of worldwide utility practice for Esri observed that GIS is not just a map but connecting dots. They are connecting dots – connecting all information available and making it easy to access for all. Eng. Atif Karrani, Manager of GIS Directorate at Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), United Arab Emirates discussed Enterprise GIS being practiced by the Authority. Atif, informing that the Authority manages electricity, water, natural gas and fibre optics and maintains about 25,000 assets, briefed the audience about the main projects of the authority. These include GISPortal that uses both spatial and non-spatial data, SEWA Explorer, a system for sharing, finding and using GIS content across SEWA. The future projects include 3-GIS implementation in East Coast region and navigation system using PDA.

Manal Al Shamsi of Federal Electricity and Water Authority also detailed the session participants about Enterprise GIS implementation for utility networks. She informed that the Authority is involved in production, transmission and distribution of electricity and water. According to her, geospatial information is finding use in maintenance operation, new service connection, sharing data with other departments and WebGIS for emergency operations. Some of the benefits identified by her in implementing GIS are enterprise scalable solutions, internet/intranet enabled solution for unlimited number of users, using tracing to locate/isolate a fuse or valve, and customised applications such as no objection certificate (NOC) generation.

Satellite imagery is emerging an important aspect of GIS, providing base layer in many GIS applications. A workshop by Roger Shreenan of Fugro Maps explored the process of generating 3D data from stereo satellite imagery and guided participants on how to value add to their imagery. According to Roger, while there are many DEM collection methods, the benefits of satellite stereo imagery over other methods like aerial photography, LiDAR, ground survey and radar include global availability, engineering quality data, no permits needed, cost effective to other methodology and high mobilization cost not required. Proceeding with generating data from imagery using ArcGIS, Roger opined that of managed properly, high level of accuracy can be obtained from satellite data and urged the GIS users and potential users to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what they are buying, considering the various imagery providers available.    

Source: Our correspondent