UNRCC – PCGIAP International Symposium on Spatially Enabled Government and Society

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 14-16 February 2012

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Plenary panel discussion

The International Symposium on Spatially Enabled Government and Society, hosted by the Department of Survey and Mapping, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Malaysia was recently held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia over the period February 14–16, 2012. The premise for the symposium is that spatial information and data add valuable dimensions to governance decision making processes and supports societies’ involvement in the governance process in the pursuit of economic, social, political and environmental objectives. The Symposium was sponsored by the Permanent Committee on GIS Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific (PCGIAP) with support from the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDI), The International Cartographic Association (ICA) and the International Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ISPRS). The main symposium (15th and 16th February) was preceded by an Expert Group Meeting on Spatially Enabled Government & Society held on 14th February and in which FIG representatives played active roles. FIG was represented at the expert meeting and main symposium by CheeHai Teo (President), Professor Ing. Rudolf Staiger (Vice President), Dr Michael Sutherland (Chair, Commission 4), Dr Daniel Steudler (Chair, FIG Task Force on Spatially Enabled Society), Peter Laarakker (Dutch Kadaster), Enrico Rispoli (CNGGeL Italy) and Brent Jones (ESRI).

The symposium was officiated by Datuk Prof. Sr Dr. Abdul Kadir bin Taib, Director General, Department of Surveying and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM), Dr. Paul Cheung, United Nations Statistics Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Kurup, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Malaysia (NRE). Over the 2-day period of the event attendees received presentations from many countries including Malaysia, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Singapore, Brunei, Trinidad and Tobago, Iran, Australia, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. Representatives from institutions and organizations such as FIG, ICA, Trimble, ESRI and the World Bank also made presentations.

It was clear from the results of the expert meeting and presentations that spatial enablement of government and societies are desirable, and that these desires are not only contemporary but have been trumpeted by geomatics professionals as needs in the governance decision making process, for decades. The need for spatial data infrastructures and levels of stakeholder collaborative, cooperative or integrative institutional and governance arrangements to support the infrastructures were also common points underscored as many speakers presented the various institutional, technological and social barriers to spatial enablement to be overcome in many jurisdictions. These continuing inhibitive situations to the realisation of spatial enablement of government and society pose challenges and opportunities for land professionals to ply their trade and apply their knowledge and skills. FIG Commissions, in particular, ought to rise to the challenges and seek to assist in finding solutions, not only in the exercise of skills in their particular professional domains but also in seeking to forge and continue to develop collaborative relationships with relevant governmental and professional organizations. Spatial enablement of government and society provide opportunities and challenges that require vital input from all FIG perspectives: Professional Standards and Practice, Professional Education, Spatial Information Management, Hydrography, Positioning and Measurement, Engineering Surveys, Cadastre and Land Management, Spatial Planning and Development, Valuation and the Management of Real Estate, and Construction Management.

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Michael Sutherland
Chair of FIG Commission 4
April 2012

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Group discussion.
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FIG was among others represented by Chair of Commission 4 Michael Sutherland and president CheeHai Teo
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Michael Sutherland at the Seminar.


20 April 2012