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SPC Highlights Technology and the Positive Advances Facing Pacific Regional Development at the GIS and Remote Sensing Conference

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Thursday 27 November 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Suva, Fiji - The Pacific region continues to face development issues and technology of all kinds is assisting many areas of decision making, wealth generation and job creation. This was the focus of opening remarks delivered by Professor Michael Petterson, Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (AGTD) at the Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS & RS) conference.

The GIS & RS conference opened on Tuesday, 25th November at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji with the theme “Empowering Pacific Communities through Improved Geospatial Data”, and where approximately 280 participants were in attendance with representatives from countries and agencies from the Pacific and beyond.

‘Although we have some way to go because of limited capacity and resources, organisations like SPC have made a solid start in developing modern databases, applying new technologies, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, multivariate satellite spectra and bathymetric instruments. These technologies allow for rapid coverage of land and lagoon, enabling experts to determine land use, forestry cover, areas of mineralisation, sites for geothermal energy and to assist with planning decisions,’ Petterson described.

Professor Petterson pointed out that there is also the significant task of turning legacy paper-based data, such as maps, reports and measurements into modern electronic databases to be intelligently interrogated and used as modern GIS and e-mapping systems.

‘Decades of data need to be moved into a digital framework and this will take time, but we have made a solid beginning,’ Petterson said.  ‘One day, we will be able to rapidly plot maps, showing where, for example, all public infrastructure worth over $US 0.5 million are located within zones of high risk from disasters. These decision-support tools facilitate intelligent planning and allow decisions to be made on retrofitting important buildings and infrastructure to make them more disaster and climate change resilient or to assist with issues, such as the value of forests, the location of channels for cruise ships and container vessels, and the locations of mines and mineral deposits.’

Finally, the Director encouraged all who attended to get involved with Pacific development initiatives and assist the region.  ‘Developing networks of professional excellence in GIS, remote sensing and other modern technologies is the essential backbone of Pacific capacity building and can provide stimulating ideas for intelligence exchange for decades to come.’

For more information, contact Sachindra Singh, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the SPC website: http://picgisrs.appspot.com

Photo Credit: Isireli Buwawa, Deputy Team Leader, GIS/RS Section, SPC Geoscience Division

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 05:18  


Over the next three months, a seven-member team will conduct an independent external review of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The review, beginning the first week of February, will consider SPC in the context of its broader role in regional development. The team will examine SPC’s focus, governance, management, mode of delivery, financing and performance monitoring and make recommendations on the organisation’s core business; governance, decision-making and membership; organisational structure; strategic planning; priority setting; business practices; financial management; resources; and performance monitoring and assessment.

When it approved the terms of reference for the review at the 7th Conference of the Pacific Community held in November last year, SPC’s governing body noted the timeliness of the exercise in light of the recent integration of SOPAC (Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission) and SPBEA (Secretariat of the Pacific Board for Educational Assessment) into SPC.

SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers said, "This will be an organisation-wide review that is independent of SPC. It will consider SPC’s core business and other important issues such as general governance and organisational efficiency."