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Thinking Outside the Scottish Silo – AGI Scotland

By [email protected] - 9th February 2009 - 09:54

Glasgow Universityâs Gilbert Scott building was the venue for our AGI Scotland Event last November. Against a magnificent Neo-Gothic backdrop of soaring pillars, leaded windows and spacious quadrangles, a near-capacity crowd enjoyed a series of interesting and thought provoking presentations.
Entitled âThinking outside the siloâ the event began with an introduction from the new AGI Scotland Chair Hugh Barron.AGI Scotland is a sub-group of AGI focused on the interests of the geographic information community in Scotland. It has its own committee which promotes the aims of the AGI within the Scottish context and co-ordinates activities with the national body. AGI Scotland is currently co-ordinating a major initiative in Scotland to define and progress a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Similar national and international initiatives are underway. The objectives of AGI Scotland are: * to promote awareness on GI and how it could benefit the citizen, commerce and good governance within Scotland * to gain access to Scottish and UK governments * to bring together people with an interest in GI within Scotland * to tune and deliver membership benefits to Scottish members * to encourage AGI membership at the grass roots level within ScotlandIn the first session Rob Clynes of the Isle of Man Government and Graham Jones and Fiona Young of the Scottish Governmentâs ePlanning Programme demonstrated examples of real-world integration. Both presentations underlined the important benefits of an integrated approach to systems and infrastructure development; the former showing the cross-cutting technical and efficiency gains associated with the MANNGIS project whilst the latter emphasised GI integration as a key factor in future success. Gareth Harrison from the Institute for Energy Systems at the University of Edinburgh gave an excellent example of data integration from analytical work on renewable energy resources and constraints. The extra dimension was provided by Richard Rollins of AutoDesk in his presentation on 3D cities.Emphasising the practical enablers to integration, Martin Daly of Cadcorp SIS entertained us with a review of international standards whilst Dr Ken Macdonald, the Assistant Commissioner for Scotland at the UK Information Commisionerâs Office, emphasised the key principles of data protection constraints under which UK institutions and individuals must operate. Putting GI standards into practice, Charles Kennelly, CTO at ESRI UK, began the afternoon session highlighting of the ease and simplicity of map service integration using an amusing musical history analogy. Bruce Gittings, Scottish GI champion from the University of Edinburgh, continued in a similar vein by demonstrating the ease of spatial data integration using open standards with the Library of Scotlandâs open (WMS) historical map service.Closing the event, the Scottish Governmentâs chief GI strategist, Cameron Easton, updated delegates on the path towards achieving INSPIRE and âOne Scotland One Geographyâ objectives; Cameron highlighted that there had clearly been progress and that the GI landscape in Scotland was steadily advancing, though not as rapidly as some would like.

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Getting Beyond the Silos - Niall Carter and Bruce Gittings from the University of Edinburgh

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