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GSDI-9 Conference in Santiago Summary

By [email protected] - 11th December 2006 - 09:10

The 9th International Conference of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association was conducted in Santiago, Chile from November 6-10, 2006. The conference theme focused on the use of spatial data and affiliated information technologies and infrastructure for addressing poverty issues. The conference attracted over 400 registrants representing 62 nations. It featured over 193 presentations and 53 posters in 58 technical sessions, 8 workshops, 6 round tables, and many business meetings. The venue was the historic and beautiful Chilean Military History Museum.
The GSDI 9 inauguration ceremony featured welcoming presentations by the Director of the Chilean Instituto Geographic Militar, Colonel Luis Alegria M., and the Chilean Minister of National Assets, Mrs. Romy Schmit. The President of the GSDI Association, Harlan Onsrud, gave an opening address on Critical Issues in the Alleviation of Poverty: The Relevance of Geographic Data and Tools. All of the opening talks highlighted the critical need for spatial data and information infrastructure for better assessing the key underlying causes of regional poverty and for better directing infrastructure and human capital investments.Other keynote and plenary sessions featured presentations by Dr. Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard, Director of the Transportation and Urban Development Department at the World Bank, Dr. Carmelle Terborgh, Manager of Global Affairs at Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), Peter Batty, Chief Technology Officer of Intergraph Corporation, Ivan DeLoatch, Director of the US Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), Jorge Duran, Senior Manager of Municipal Development and Capacity Building at the Organization of American States (OAS), and Ricardo Quiroga, Principal Economist of the Environment Division of the Sustainable Development Department at the Inter American Development Bank.The vast majority of speakers and participants in the technical sessions were from Latin American nations. However, further featured speakers representing global or major regional organizations included Santiago Borrero (PAIGH), Stig Enemark (FIG), Peter Holland (PCGIAP), Bruce McCormack (EUROGI), Mario Reyes (PCIDEA), Carl Reed (OGC), Fraser Taylor (ISCGM), Jeffrey Tschirley (FAO), and David Kaatrud (WFP). Other featured speakers offering global visions or perspectives included Robert Chen (CIESIN), David Coleman (Canada), Jeff Labonte (Canada), Nick Land (EuroGeographics), Vanessa Lawrence (UK), John Moeller (USA), and Paul Uhlir (USA).Another highlight of the conference were the numerous free three-hour workshops in which participants were able to address spatial data infrastructure concepts and challenges in greater depth.Winners of the poster competition included:First - Using GIS for Integration of Social Concerns for the Assessment of Former Dumpsites: The Case of Bacolod City, Philippines; Francoise Orban-Ferauge (Belgium) and Mary Ann Pandan (Philippines)Second - ILRI's Attempt at Spatial Data Infrastructure, Mr. Michael Arunga (Kenya)Third - Use of Spatial Data Infrastructures for Assessing Urban Vulnerability to Earthquake Hazards; Veronica Botero Fernandez (Colombia)Thanks to everyone that contributed items to the silent auction. Carmelle J. Terborgh, Chair of the GSDI Sponsored Projects Committee, took the lead in organizing this effort and reports that the activity raised significant donations and cash in support of the developing nation fund. Approximately fifteen people received substantial contributions from that fund to partially cover their travel expenses to attend the GSDI-9 conference.Several other conferences and meetings were held in conjunction with the GSDI-9 meeting. Among them included:* International Earth Sciences Congress, 9th Meeting* United Nations Permanent Committee for the Infrastructure of Geospatial Data of the Americas (PC-IDEA) 6th Meeting and Workshop on SDIs Serving the Needs of Latin America* United Nations Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG), 7th Meeting* International Cartographic Association (ICA): Standards Group Meeting* Knowledge Sharing for the Natural Resources Community (FRAME - U.S. AID)* International Steering Committee for Global Mapping (ISCGM), 13th Meeting* Americas Global Map Project (MGA-2)* Global Land Cover Network Meeting (GLCN), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)* Pan-American Institute for Geography and History (PAIGH), 39th Meeting of the Directing CouncilAt the GSDI Council business meeting, Jarmo Ratia, Director of the National Land Survey of Finland, was elected as new president of the GSDI Association and will lead the association through GSDI-10. Bas Kok, Director of RAVI, the SDI Advocacy Group in The Netherlands, was elected as vice-president (President Elect) for the same tenure. Harlan Onsrud as immediate past president will remain as interim Executive Director. Other newly elected members joining the eighteen member GSDI Board of Directors include (1) Delegate from Academic Organization: Yola Georgiadou, ITC - Netherlands, (2) Delegate from an Asia Pacific Organization: Li Weisen, State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, China, (3) Delegate from South American Organization: Rodrigo Barriga, IGM, Chile and (4) Delegate from Global Initiative: Greg Yetman, CIESIN, US. Abbas Rajibifard from the University of Melbourne was appointed treasurer and Gabor Remetey-Fülöpp from HUNAGI was appointed secretary. The GSDI-10meeting is currently planned for February 2008 in central Oceania.The platinum sponsor efforts were led by Ignacio Guerrero from Intergraph and Jeanne Foust from ESRI who warrant our extra special thanks and appreciation. Although too numerous to mention here but highlighted on the conference web site, the committee personnel and additional sponsors involved in helping to support and organize the conference receive our special thanks. Finally, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and the Instituto Geografico Militar (IGM) of Chile are to be heartily congratulated once again for making GSDI-9 a great success.The Statement of Santiago and Final Resolutions from the conference are or will be posted on the web site. The conference web site remains at but will eventually be archived with updated final material at

Author: Harlan Onsrud

Bio.: GSDI

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