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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

Tuesday, 24 September 2013, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – Regional experts in land and marine survey and management commended the work of the AusAID-funded Pacific Sea Level Monitoring (PSLM) Project at the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) Symposium in Suva last week.

Among them was Professor John Hannah of the University of Otago, who chairs the FIG Climate Change Task Force. Addressing the conference, Professor Hannah said, ‘Monitoring is crucial. We need reference systems and data sets that allow us to monitor change accurately.’

‘I congratulate our colleagues in the Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project ─ thanks to that initiative, many small islands have a reliable continuous data set.  We need to see more of this in the region.’

The project has been collecting data from 14 sites across the Pacific since 1991. Over-water monitoring stations in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Pohnpei, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, and Nauru provide a continuous stream of high-quality data on sea level, tides, water and air temperature, barometric pressure, and windspeed and direction. In addition, land-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) stations in each country measure seismic movements and provide geodetic benchmarks for the sea-level stations.

All of this data is necessary for scientists to calculate sea-level change relative to land elevation. The data has many other uses, however. It is publically accessible and is frequently referenced for coastal development projects, urban planning, tidal predictions, formulation of maritime boundaries, wave modelling and for navigational purposes.