Commission 3 meets in Athens - Experiences and Visions for the 21st Century

Commission 3 Annual Meeting and Seminar was held in Glifada, Athens 4-7 October. The seminar was attended by almost 100 delegates from 17 countries. The proceedings from the seminar titled "Spatial Information Management - Experiences and Visions for the 21st Century" will be published on the Commission 3 web site later this year. The next Annual Meeting and International Seminar will be held in Nairobi, Kenya 2-5 October 2001. This meeting will be hosted by FIG, UNCHS(Habitat) and ISK, Kenya. 

The title of the seminar was "Spatial Information Management - Experiences and Visions for the 21st Century". The experiences and visions that resulted from the seminar can be listed as follows:

  • National Spatial Information Infrastructure (NSDI) is an Asset for all Nations in general. It should be considered as a key part of wider infrastructure assets such as roads, telecommuni-cation networks etc.
  • Establishing of a Spatial Information Infrastructure demands co-operation/partnership be-tween the public and the private sectors and amongst the variety of professions involved.
  • Given the complexity of existing institutional structures, one can expect conflicts when seek-ing co-operation in NSDI strategy formulation and implementation.
  • NSDI can proceed even if a formal policy document [top down approach] does not exist. It is possible to proceed with certain operational level activities [bottom up approach] while the policy is being formulated. These activities can themselves drive and encourage policy.
  • Every NSDI will be different, depending on cultural needs, social evolution, economic reality and national ambitions. The environmental framework and the market demand will shape the most appropriate SDI.
  • NSDI policy must be flexible to address rapidly changing needs and wishes of the users and adapt to changing technologies.
  • Varied applications and services through a project oriented approach will bring reality to the NSDI (GSDI). An over emphasis on data acquisition, without a market linked application, will not provide any momentum for further development.
  • The potential values and benefits have to be demonstrated through large scale projects to en-courage further investment.
  • Currently, it is often difficult, or even impossible, for users to sensibly combine data from different sources.
  • It is essential that users are involved in defining and testing the associated products and serv-ices.
  • Visualisation, modelling and analysing activities will be the focus of value added services in the years to come.
  • Cadastral, topographic and thematic datasets should adopt the same overarching philosophy and data-model to achieve multi-purpose data integration, both vertically and horizontally.
  • To be able to integrate and share data we need to focus on research to understand and resolve different semantics in data.
  • To fulfill the different users demands for spatial information independent of space and time and to exploit the market potential the full range of spatial data actual as well as historical, should be made accessible and available.
  • Alternative possibilities for the presentation and interpretations of spatial information, including integration of knowledge, should be considered.
  • The commercial and contractual frameworks for co-operation and the associated business models will be key issues in the further development of NSDI.
  • To be able to adapt to the e-market rethinking of pricing, rights and access to data is necessary.

18 October 2000