The first International Libyan Conference on E-Government was held in July in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, a week after the Country’s first ever free elections. Organized by the College of Electronics Technology of Bani Walid, the purpose of the conference was to bring together government, university and other community interests with international experts to share ideas and experiences about e-Government and its role in addressing societal issues and provide guiding principles towards the establishment of a national e-Government roadmap for the new Libya.
GPC President Mark Sorensen was invited to address the assembly of nearly 300 persons to introduce the audience to geographic information system (GIS) and spatial data infrastructure (SDI) concepts and practices internationally, and to relay the experience of the Libya Spatial Data Infrastructure (LSDI) program initiated in 2005. Mark outlined the history of GIS development over the past 30 years and the evolution of SDI as a mechanism for sharing geospatial information across society. He also summarized the results of the previous LSDI program, and his appreciation of the team of dedicated Libyans from 17 different government agencies who worked together over a two year period to prepare a master plan for a national effort. That earlier project also involved the implementation of the Country’s first GeoPortal and the compilation of an initial data clearinghouse to demonstrate the utility of a coordinated information sharing program.
Mark went on to stress the significance of geospatial information and SDI as an enabling environment for “eLibya”, a bold initiative proposed by the new interim government. Under this initiative the Country intends to leverage Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a development and competitive positioning strategy that will help Libya to develop a diversified economy and technical capacity.
As highlighted by the conference organizers and several speakers, Libya has the opportunity to leverage GIS, SDI and other high technology components in the redevelopment of the Country. Furthermore, these technologies can help Libya to “leapfrog” many development issues, to build a world class spatial data infrastructure, to empower government agencies with the best GIS tools, and to position the Country for a bold and bright new future.