FIG participates the Second International Seminar on GIS in Bogotá, Colombia, September 24-26, 2003

Dr. Erwin Heine, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Surveying, Remote Sensing and Land Information at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Vienna (BOKU Wien) represented FIG at the Second International Conference on GIS in Bogotá, Colombia September 24-26, 2003. The conference was organised by SELPA (Society of Latin American Experts on Remote Sensing and GIS) and Distrital University of Bogotá (Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas), an academic member of FIG. Myriam Ardila Torres (SELPA) and Luz Angela Rocha Salamanca (University Distrital) were responsible for the practical arrangements. FIG attended this conference for the second time promoting its activities and strengthening the co-operation between FIG and surveyors in South America.

This time most of the experts from Europe and USA cancelled their participation on the seminar due to possible security problems.

During his visit to Colombia Dr. Heine gave a lecture at the Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas to ten teachers and scientists and 130 students of Cadastral and Geodesy Engineering and of Natural Resource Management on “3D GIS: From 2.5D models towards volumetric models”. As remarks from this visit Dr. Heine says that:

  • The university departments are well equipped with PC labs and GIS software;
  • GPS equipment (double frequency as well as several one frequency), some total stations and 2 digital photogrammetric workstations (Z/I Imaging) are used for training the students
  • The students are trained in small groups of 5 to 10 person
  • They are very interested in the application of GIS for risk management due to their problems on erosion and land slides in the country.
  • The quality of education at the department (knowledge of the students) seems to be o.k.

Dr Heine met further with the scientific staff of the university (Luz Ángela Rocha, José Luis Herrera, Andrés Cárdenos and Pedro Castañeda and José Nelson Perez, Head of the Faculty of Engineering and Inocencio Bahamon, Head of the Faculty of Natural Resource Sciences). Topics and results of this two and half hours discussion included that there is a need on

  • harmonizing the education of Geodesy and Geomatics in South America and at international level
  • developing a Colombian cadastre based on the principals of Cadastre 2014
    • Information on actual developments in Cadastral Systems (Land Information Systems)
    • Experts reporting on the Pros and Cons of existing and well working cadastral systems (of Europe)
  • stronger cooperation with FIG, i.e. Commission 3 and Commission 7 e.g. by carrying out more conferences, work shops and meetings in South America, USA or Canada

The deficits in Land Administration in South America are obvious and serious.

At the 2nd International Seminar on Geoinformation Systems Dr. Heine made a presentation on FIG at the opening session – the powerpoint presentation in Spanish is available on the FIG home page. Participants from the universities, Geographical and Cadastral State Departments as well as private firms were attending the session and they were very interested in further activities of FIG in South America (work shops, etc.)

Subsequent to the technical sessions the panel discussion on management of geodata was carried out. Wilmar Amaya from ECOPETROL (state oil corporation of Columbia) and Dr. Heine were chairing the discussion between the auditory and the six experts of the panel. The following topics had been discussed with great emphasis:

  • General management themes:
    • Knowing about existing information and make it accessible
    • Quality control
    • Update cycle
    • Pricing, Cost recovery
  • Managing nationwide geodata of different state departments by a decentralized system:
    • How to overcome the lack in metadata information?
    • How to handle the different legal rights (right of use, etc.)
    • How to compensate the cost of geodata production of the specific departments, after making it accessible for other departments or the public?

In the conference he presented a paper "The Austrian Land Information System: Contents, conception and its contribution to a sustainable land administration" .

As remarks from his visit Dr. Heine tells that Director D. Rey Martínez from the National Geographic Institute informed about different projects on cadastral and land register in Colombia financed by the World Bank. There are plans to organize a seminar next year to present the first results of this 14 million dollar project, and the IGAC is planning to invite also a representative of FIG to this event.

As Colombia bought the ArcCadastre software from Procalc, one of the sponsors of the conference, there were talks about the further steps to a functioning land information system, because building up a cadastre and land register which supports sustainable development and efficient land markets for all Colombian people, there is still an enormous need on expert knowledge and on investigations in this area.

Dir. Martínez as well as other participants from the Colombian universities mentioned that

  • the absence of clear legal regulations related to the land administration as well as
  • the underdeveloped land market,
  • the unclear property situation in rural areas and
  • the lack of reliable cadastral information
    as the main challenges in the process of building up a valid land information system for Colombia.