Iraq SDI Workshop
In mid-February 2012, over 25 persons representing 13 national and regional government organizations assembled in Erbil in the north of Iraq for an intensive three-day exchange to explore concepts and ideas towards the establishment of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure for Iraq. The workshop was conducted under the auspices of the Prime Minister Advisory Committee (PMAC), and supported by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS). Staff from the GPC Group facilitated the workshop, bringing experience and insights regarding the implementation of GIS federations and Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) in other countries and regions around the world. The first day of the workshop focused on the principles of GIS and the application of the technology to a wide variety of sectors; the evolution of different levels and structures of GIS federations and ultimately into more formal and institutionalized national and regional SDI; and case studies from around the world to illustrate how the same basic principles have been applied in different contexts.
During the second day, all the participating government organizations presented a summary of the work that they are already doing with GIS. All participants were impressed with the interesting work being carried out by individual agencies, but even more eye-opening was the realization that cumulatively the stakeholder organizations have already build a broad array of data and applications, yet not all were fully aware of each other’s efforts. A very engaging dialog among the attendees filled the afternoon with very energetic and enlightening discussions about the state of GIS development in Iraq, common challenges faced, and the potential for the future. Concluding the day’s proceedings, the GPC Group presented their experience in the planning, institutionalization, and strengthening phases of the Abu Dhabi Spatial Data Infrastructure that has been implemented by the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre.
Iraq SDI Workshop Image Gallerry
The third and final day of the workshop started with a review of “lessons learned” in the implementation of GIS and SDI around the world. This discussion focused primarily on the human and institutional factors that so often determine the success or failure of such efforts. By mid-morning of the third day, all the workshop participants had a common understanding of GIS, SDI, the considerable efforts already underway in the country, and lessons learned. This provided the foundation of a common understanding that was then applied to evaluating an approach and priorities for moving an Iraq SDI initiative forward. Each activity “Track” was discussed, as well as the interdependencies between parallel tracks. Feedback from the participants was recorded during these discussions. The final feedback from the participants was compiled into a final workplan that was be presented to the PMAC as a group recommendation for the way forward in development of the Iraq SDI.
All the participants expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the breadth and relevance of the material covered in the workshop. For most, this was the most in-depth exposure to all the technical, institutional and governance factors that must be addressed to achieve an effectively functioning SDI initiative. GPC was honored to have the opportunity to participate in this important meeting, and looked forward to seeing this initiative grow and evolve into a world class initiative while contributing significantly to the economic, social and environmental development of the country in the coming years and decades.