Hyderabad, India: As a pre-conference programme of Geospatial World Forum, GIS Development organised a two-day discussion forum for the heads of national mapping organisations (NMOs) from different countries and industry representatives from across the globe. This exclusive two-day programme was aimed to encourage delegates to deliberate upon concerns, issues, opportunities and challenges of each stakeholder of this domain to find out some common grounds and strategies in order to help each other achieve their objectives and contribute to the overall growth of geospatial industry.
Setting the pace of the forum, Sanjay Kumar, CEO, GIS Development observed that the geospatial industry is growing rapidly and the major stakeholders in this industry are NMOs and the industry. This programme facilitates exchange between these two so they can put their act together and work out a growth path. Prof. Ian Dowman, Editor – Europe, GIS Development added that it is important to understand what NMOs want and how the industry can serve those requirements.
In his keynote address, Kevin Pomfret, Executive Director, Center for Spatial Law and Policy, USA, deliberated upon the importance of spatial law and industry. He opined that as spatial data becomes more common and relationships become more complex, as applications for spatial data become more complex, the legal risks become more complex and the risks become greater. Defining spatial law as the set of legal issues associated with spatial technology and collection and use of location and other types of spatial data, he identified privacy, data ownership, national security data quality/liability as issues to be addressed in the context of spatial law. He illustrated that with social networking applications like Google Steet View and Facebook and use of location data by law enforcement, location privacy issues are receiving a great deal of attention. Factors like cultural differences with respect to privacy also impact ability to share data. Stressing on why it is important to educate lawyers on spatial technology, he said that lawyers should know what to put into licensing agreements.
In his opening address, Maj. Gen. (Dr.) R. Siva Kumar, CEO, NSDI, and NRDMS, India, remarked that NMOs are unable to match growing demand of geospatial due to conservative approach and that new strategies and models are a challenge the NMOs face in the light of changing market dynamics. He also stressed on the need to look at how private sector can work with NMOs. Challenges identified by him included issues related to data accuracy/integrity/cost, a level playing field for both government and non-government players and development of good positioning infrastructure. Challenges on the technical side include metadata generation and digitisation of archives especially presatellite data. Funding for mapping programmes is also a challenge according to Dr. Siva Kumar who informed the audience about a UN forum on geographic information management. He also asserted the need of customer-focussed services by NMOs.