Thursday, July 12, 2007

4th Caribbean GIS Conference Announced

URISA is pleased to announce its 4th Caribbean GIS Conference, which will take place 25-29 Aug, 2008 at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman. The conference will be organized through a Call for Presentations to be released within the next month.

The previous three Caribbean GIS Conferences took place in the Bahamas (2006), Barbados (2004) and Jamaica (2001). The chair of the 2008 conference committee is Alan Jones, Director of Lands & Survey for the Cayman Islands. The committee is comprised of well-respected GIS professionals from across the Caribbean region, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

As in the previous gatherings, the conference objectives are:
  • To inform broad cross-section of Caribbean users about GIS technology and applications
  • To share experiences regarding GIS implementation and management issues
  • To establish new relationships with the vendor/consultant community
  • To provide workshops and sessions that are application driven, and are relevant to the Caribbean community of GIS users
  • To foster a Caribbean GIS network

IT Competitiveness

The absence of Caribbean nations from the recent Economist Intelligence Unit IT Industry Competitiveness Index (208KB PDF) is striking. Four Latin American countries were ranked in the top 50: Chile (#31), Brasil (#43), Mexico (#44) and Argentina (#45). The report suggests that:
Few nations' IT sectors can compensate for major environmental weaknesses. India and China have been able to parlay unique factors, such as workforce size, low wages or language attributes, into strong IT sector performance, compensating for glaring weaknesses in the industry environment. Few other countries will be able to use similar factors to replicate China’s and India’s success — improvement across all the enablers of IT industry competitiveness is required to build strong IT sectors.

The report offers the following IT enablers:
  • A stable and open business environment that encourages competition
  • Advanced IT and communications infrastructure
  • IT talent and skills development geared to the future
  • Robust protection of intellectual property rights
  • Strong support for innovation
  • Carefully calibrated government support
Do Caribbean governments or the anglophone political bloc have an IT strategy for the region? (Only Guyana has drafted an IT Strategy - though hopefully I'm wrong). How does building an SDI for the region proceed in such an environment?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

GSDI 10 comes to Trinidad in 2008

Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) 10 will be held in Trinidad on 25-29 Feb, 2008, at the University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus.

GSDI-10 invites presentations covering the full range of practice, development and research experiences that advance the practice and theory of spatial data infrastructure development. Submissions relating to the GSDI-10 theme of "Small Island Perspectives on Global Challenges: The Role of Spatial Data in Supporting a Sustainable Future" are particularly attractive. The pressing needs of small island nations are a particular emphasis of the conference and include such concerns as:
  • Sustainable development
  • Disaster prevention, warning, management, response, and recovery
  • Alleviation of poverty and crime
  • Economic development
  • Lessening the digital divide including access to information technologies
  • Ensuring food security
  • Support of transportation, health and communication systems
  • Facilitating land ownership
Specific presentation topics of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Design and development of depositories, portals, and registries for geographic data, metadata and services.
  • Innovative methods for addressing technical, legal, economic or institutional challenges in implementing spatial data infrastructure concepts, components and systems.
  • Experiences with current spatial data infrastructures at local,regional, national and multi-national levels and their evaluation.
  • Emerging participatory, inclusive or collaborative approaches in developing content and building infrastructure (examples: PPGIS, GEOSS, UNSDI, Google Earth, Virtual Earth, data commons, open source software).
  • Challenges and approaches to standardization of data and interoperability of systems.
  • Barriers to sharing data and methods for achieving success in sharing.
  • Alternative methods and models for planning, financing and implementing spatial data infrastructure or related initiatives.
  • Policies supporting creation and responsible management of spatial data infrastructure resources.
  • Progress achieved by developing nations through information infrastructure development efforts.
  • Facilitation of international support for the development of spatial data infrastructure.
  • Analysis of practical cases to determine whether infrastructure initiatives are actually achieving goals such as increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the management of information or helping to advance health, education, social welfare, security, safety and similar social goals.
  • Education and capacity building efforts.
  • Basic and applied research in advancing spatial data infrastructure theory and concepts.
More information: Full Call for Papers. Two page poster.

Deadline for submission of Abstracts - Sept 15, 2007
Notification of Presentation/ Poster Acceptances - Oct 15, 2007
Deadline for submission of full Papers and Posters - Dec 15, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

IWCAM GIS Initiative

The Integrated Watershed and Coastal Area Management (IWCAM) Project, based in Saint Lucia is forging a good foundation for GIS and its application to the management of water resources and related issues in 13 Caribbean states, stretching from The Bahamas to Trinidad & Tobago. The IWCAM today ended a two-day Regional GIS Workshop in Roseau, Dominica where a draft Roadmap for mainstreaming GIS for watershed management in the Caribbean was presented and widely discussed. The results of the workshop are not yet formally available, but the Caribbean's GIS sector will likely benefit from the many good action-ideas that IWCAM is now seriously considering. The IWCAM Project Coordination Unit is to be congratulated for its action on pushing the application of high technology to better manage the precious water resources of the region, to the benefit of its people.