GISDATA International Users Conference 2008 in Opatija: collaboration is key to sustainable development

GISDATA International Users Conference 2008 in Opatija: collaboration is key to sustainable development  

GISDATA GROUP, May 16, 2008.

Media Contact: Kristina Hajduka, Marketing and PR, GISDATA GROUP LLC,

During May 7-9 2008, the largest GIS community in Central and South-Eastern Europe gathered in Opatija; 300 attendees from 11 countries, both GISDATA users and professional collaborators attended the second international GISDATA Users Conference.

This year, there were 10 parallel thematic sessions, offering a wide range of interesting topics to attendants. 60 presentations presented during 2 days represent an increase of 50% from last year.

The Conference was opened by Mr. Andrej Lončarić, Director of GISDATA’s core markets, and it was followed by presentations from GISDATA management. Mr. Boran Lončarić, CEO of GISDATA GROUP, gave an overview of the company’s strategic direction, and expressed his gratitude to over 300 users with whom the company developed relationships over the 20 years of its existence.

GIS mash-up solutions with web 2.0 style collaboration

Mr. Leon Šagovac, GISDATA’s CTO, presented on practical implementations of mash-ups and Web 2.0 style collaboration. He demonstrated two examples of implemented solutions which enabled users to see various possibilities of usage of GISDATA collaborative systems on existing applications; the first in the urban area of Opatija, and involving the State Geodetic Authority GeoPortal, and the second in the area of rare plant species protection – an information system which enables project sharing amongst various stakeholders and which is being made in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture of Croatia.

The Conference welcome speeches were delivered by the delegate of the Mayor of the City of Opatija, as well as by the State Secretary of the Croatian Ministry of Culture, Mr. Zoran Šikić, who is working closely with GISDATA on a GIS-based project for the protection of environment. Mr. Šikić announced his plans for realization of a web-based GIS system for the protection of environment in his Ministry.

“Sharing our visions”

GISDATA users conferences, whose theme this year was „Sharing our Visions“, aims at providing a common platform to GISDATA and its users where they can exchange knowledge and visions. In this way, it is assured that GISDATA and its users are moving towards the same goal; that of achieving GISDATA users’ business goals and objectives, with GISDATA leading its customers in the right direction from the technological standpoint, and GISDATA users providing inputs regarding their business objectives and plans.

Contribution of collaborative GIS frameworks to sustainable development

This year’s conference key technological concept was „Collaborative Frameworks“, a concept based on the same principle as web 2.0. technology i.e., collaborative frameworks that are interoperable, interconnected, integrated and dynamic systems able to communicate and exchange data amongst themselves and to different stakeholders.

Several prominent guest speakers at the plenary session provided examples of ways GIS-based, collaborative information systems contribute to the sustainable development of their organisations and industries.

Examples of the usage of GIS-based collaborative systems by existing customers

Mr. Željko Bačić, Director of Croatian State Geodetic Administration stressed the importance of GIS- based data in the Croatian Geoportal which is at a finishing stage and which will in the future provide a framework for effective land management and planning in Croatia, based on EU standards and directives.

Mr. Nick Land from ESRI Europe described the concept of a Geoportal available to the public in Western European countries (Great Britain and Norway). His presentation concluded that SDI is the framework, while GIS is the platform, for better and maximized use of spatial information, more efficient planning and better decision-making regarding our space, land, infrastructure and the world around us in general.

A user’s perspective was offered by Mr. Tonko Obuljen, executive director of the Croatian Regulatory Telecommunications Agency who sees GIS technology as a provider of means for more efficient building, management and sharing of infrastructure needed in telecom regulation.

Mr. Dušan Sakulski from UN University in South Africa described GIS as the “sensible and sustainable technology” which will in the future have to be used more strongly in the area of Disaster Risk Management.

Greater openess of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI’s) – key to greater competiteveness, efficiency and transparency

At the panel discussion under the title “SDI – the pace and progress towards more efficient geoinformational communities – exchanging best practices” the key concept discussed was the SDI (Spatial Data Infrastructure), used in a collaborative way by the public and private sectors, by private users and authorities. The importance of SDI in protection of ecologically-protected areas has been mentioned by Mr. Šikić, who is actively working on implementation of an overall information system at the Ministry of Culture of Croatia.

The discussion concluded with a view that greater openness of SDI to the public contributes to higher efficiency and competitiveness as well as greater transparency.

The panelists included Mr. Daniel Boldin, IT expert from the State Geodetic Authority of Slovenia, Mr. Attila Olah, Managing Director of GISDATA subsidiary in Hungary – ESRI Hungary Kft., Mr. Andrej Lončarić, GISDATA Director for Core Markets, Mr. Zoran Krejović, Director General from the State Geodetic Authority of Serbia, Mr. Željko Bačić, Director General of the State Geodetic Authority of Croatia, Mr. Nick Land, Spatial Data Infrastructure Business Development Manager at ESRI Europe, Mr. Tonko Obuljen, Executive Director of Telecommunications Regulatory Agency of Croatia and Mr. Zoran Šikić, State Secretary in Ministry of Culture of Croatia. The panel was led by Mr. Tomislav Gavazzi, director of Infoarena, who held a role of a panel moderator.

Same as last year, GDUC 2008 also held a poster and maps exhibition (with 31 posters and an award for the best poster), a two-day pre-conference seminar on ESRI-based solutions for support of water resources, and a post-conference sailing excursion around the Kvarner Bay.

GDUC 2009, May 2009 in Opatija

Next year’s conference will be held in late May 2009, again in Opatija, when GISDATA will again provide a conference at the level of its user’s expectations, or above.

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