One of the recurring topics amongst the excellent programme at Map Middle East was the common issue of implementing spatial data infrastructures (SDI). This topic seems to come up in every geographic area at almost every scale from local to global – the common element always seems to be how do you prove the value of a infrastructure which delivers consistent geographical information to potential users.
I was very impressed by the presentation given by Zul Jiwani of Orion Technology who was instrumental in the development of the Qatar Centre for GIS, one of the most successful national GIS programmes if not the first SDI. He made the very valid point that to really gain political support the value of geodata to all potential users needs to be proved first.
SDI’s will never be established successfully if the geodata they provide is not valued to the same extent as other infrastructures, will the user complain to the same extent when they lose access to geodata as they would if they lost access to water or electricity supplies.
An interesting aside was a example of unconventional data capture . In the state of Qatar which was a the time establishing its address framework – people ordering take-away pizza received them paid for my the centre for GIS if they used their “new” address.
Written and submitted from the Wyboston Conference Centre, using the centres free 802.11 network.