Earlier this month the General Information Authority (GIA) of Libya hosted a high level seminar to deliberate on the current status and progressive way forward on the ‘Libya Spatial Data Infrastructure’ (LSDI). The LSDI will provide the country with seamless data information share within and across government entities to enable greater efficiency in resource and time. Over 130 representatives participated from several Ministries, including the Municipalities, Land Survey Department, Urban Planning Agency, Remote Sensing Authority, Environmental Agency, Oil and Gas entities, Electricity and Telecommunication providers and many others.
The LSDI Committee Chairman Dr Abdel Raouf led the seminar with the opening presentation and was supported with in depth briefings by several Committee Members. They explained the evolutionary process of the LSDI Program since its inception in 2005, where it had originated with Government and 17 key stakeholder entities master planning the program. Dr Raouf also introduced the GPC Group as the company that provided the LSDI program advisory, consultancy and program management support, including the planning of a multi-year implementation strategy awaiting expedited execution in collaboration with the stakeholder entities.
The President of GPC Group, Mr Mark Sorensen gave an overview of the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) trends and sound practices across the international arena. He also highlighted the progressive successes of SDI programs, and said “SDI is more than a tool to enable daily operational support across all government disciplines, it can also serve as system to support key executive decision making processes with cross-sectoral information at a fingertip. Government services could be enhanced under the spatial e-government umbrella to enable more responsive handling of societal needs.” Mr Sorensen went on to present the LSDI Master Plan 2005 Outcomes and illustrate the business case for a geospatial portal, by showcasing how the dozens of spatial data layers and hundreds of metadata records shared by the 17 stakeholder entities could be neatly aligned to provide a one-point comprehensive reference and source of commonly needed information. An implementation strategy followed to show how such a system could be implemented for Libya through a staged process.
Mr Joseph Abdo, Director and Founding Partner of Abu Dhabi based GPC-GIS, shared his experience of managing the comparable Abu Dhabi – Spatial Data Infrastructure (AD-SDI) Program from its inception seven years ago to-date, under the aegis of the e-government entity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. “The AD-SDI Program today has over 60 stakeholder entities sharing over 650 data layers across the whole of government. The program has empowered spatial enablement of various government services, including local government, utilities and infrastructure providers, health, environment, food control, economic development, financial services, tourism and many other disciplines” said Mr Abdo. He also highlighted how the AD-SDI is used to support the provision of spatially enabled executive dashboards to track strategic projects and investments, and empower the highest level of decision making processes in government.
A representative from Institut Geographique National France, also shared his rich experience in relation to Geospatial services and SDI implementation in Gapon and other areas in Africa, and highlighted the challenges and opportunities surrounding SDI implementation.
During the plenary session, guest speakers emphasised the importance of stakeholder input and collaboration to inform the technical capabilities of the LSDI Program. Support and guidance from executive leadership in the Libyan Government for these stakeholder entities was also highlighted as a requirement to meet the fundamental needs of the Program. On the whole, all represented entities expressed keen interest to shape progress under the aegis of GIA, whilst leveraging the expertise and experience collated in the LSDI inception phase.
The GPC Group, established in 1995 specializes in the provision of niche information solutions and geospatial consultancy. It provides services in program management support, spatial data infrastructure, community information infrastructure, enterprise GIS roadmap development, capacity building, spatial thinking and geospatial professional development among other services. It has offices in the USA, UAE and Afghanistan, with its clientele being predominantly government based. GPC Group provides Geospatial solutions that are anchored on the institutional needs and business imperatives of their clients.