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Regional discussion on Pacific Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing to begin next week

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The annual Pacific Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS/RS) User Conference will be held from Tuesday 25 - 27 November, 2014 in Suva.

The Conference will be held at the Japan Pacific ICT Centre located at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Laucala Campus and will be opened by the Permanent Secretary of Lands, Mr Tevita Boseiwaqa and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division Director, Professor Michael Petterson.

The theme of the 2014 Conference is “Empowering Pacific Communities through Improved Geospatial Data” where more than 200 participants are expected to converge.

The three-day conference will include plenary presentations and technical sessions to address themes that include but are not limited to using GIS in forestry and landcover, coastal and marine, spatial open source data, disasters, geodetic infrastructure, utilities, and education with case studies from Pacific Island countries. The conference will also showcase the latest technology and applications on GIS presentations.

Dr Wolf Forstreuter, Head of SPC’s GIS/RS Unit commented that this is the only conference in the GIS & RS user community where Pacific Islanders have an opportunity to showcase their GIS & RS applications and meet representatives of spatial data resellers, software, hardware vendors, and scientific specialists. He added, ‘There are some regional conferences in Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia; however, the level of participation by representatives from the Pacific region is often limited at those meetings, as compared to the Suva conference.’

USP Vice President Administration, Dr Dilawar Grewal says that the University of the South Pacific is committed to achieving excellence and innovation for the sustainable development of Pacific Island countries.

USP’s Japan Pacific ICT Centre Manager, Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro says that there is a strong link between ICT and sustainable development and that ICT lies at the heart of geospatial technologies and information systems that enable countries to better manage their environment and mitigate disaster occurrences. USP is also introducing a new program under the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment called the Bachelor of Geospatial Science, which will be offered in 2015.

The Pacific GIS/RS conference has been running since its inception in 1999. It is jointly organised by the SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division, USP, Fiji Lands Department and other GIS stakeholders and practitioners in the region.

Geographic Information Systems refers to the electronic systems, including the tools and technology designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and present all types of data related to geographic positions on, above or below the Earth’s surface.

For more information visit: http://picgisrs.appspot.com/ or contact Wolf Forstreuter on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Caption: Image showing point clouds from the first SPC Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) over the Bonriki water reserve, Tarawa, Kiribati

Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 11:56  

Newsflash

Exploring for deep sea minerals and possible exploitation in future presents an emerging new economic opportunity for Pacific Island countries. But this opportunity must be balanced against protection of the ocean environment and preservation of rare and fragile ecosystems and ocean habitats.

Dr Russell Howorth of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) emphasised this point in his opening address at the Regional Training Workshop on Geological, Biological and Environmental Aspects of Deep Sea Minerals, saying that ‘the precautionary approach must prevail.’ Dr Howorth is Director of SPC’s Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division.

The workshop, held recently in Nadi, was organised by the EU-funded, SPC Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project and is part of the technical assistance provided to the 15 Pacific-ACP (African Caribbean and Pacific) states.

The 15 states are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

He said that DSM Project team members have already completed 13 national stakeholder consultation workshops across the region, with plans to visit the remaining two countries, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste, in September.