GIS News, News Archives


Oct 2006 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – GIS

Ordnance Survey vision helps shape a VISTA for underground assets

VISTA (Visualising integrated information on buried assets to reduce street works) is a collaboration of 21 organisations developing an integrated infrastructure to enable data sharing for all buried assets across Great Britain. Ordnance Survey’s intelligent large-scale data OS MasterMap Topography Layer is the reference base underpinning preliminary trials by researchers at Leeds and Nottingham Universities to integrate disparate records of buried pipes, cables, ducts and wires. VISTA will combine this information with in-situ survey observations using real-time centimetre-level services provided by OS Net, Ordnance Survey’s GPScorrection network, and by Leica Geosystems’ SmartNet, which is enabled by OS Net. OS Net is a network of more than 90 GPS base stations that improves the standard accuracy of raw GPS readings to augment any application that requires GPS positioning.

IGN accused of France knowledge economy

The Institut Géographique National (IGN), the French national mapping agency, is being accused of hindering France’s knowledge economy by the high prices it charges for digital data and the obscure way it calculates them. Government auditors also accuse the institute of conflicts of interest in setting national policy for a sector in which it is the dominant player. These criticisms have cross-channel resonance. Although the directly subsidised IGN is run on a different model to its British equivalent, Ordnance Survey, its problems spring from the conflict that arises when a public agency tries to market data commercially. Now an official inquiry in France has suggested a possible solution along the lines of that proposed by Guardian Technology’s Free Our Data campaign. This is to make taxpayer-funded data sets freely available to all comers on the web.

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister praises MACRES

Remote sensing technology will be extended nationwide in Malaysia to curb illegal logging and control forest fires. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the satellitebased data gathering and monitoring system would also provide authorities with up-to-date information on the inventories of forests in the country. “The technology will enable the gathering of data on species of flora and fauna as well as the volume of trees in our forests,” he said. Praising the technology developed by the Malaysian Centre for Remote Sensing, he said after the technology was successfully tried out in the Gunung Stong State Park in Kelantan, the Government was expanding its usage.

Major India-German science and technology initiative launched

India and Germany have launched a new initiative in collaborative Science &Technology (S&T) programme that will strengthen as well as expand their S&T cooperation. Following the sixth meeting of the Indo-German Committee on S&T, officials of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Indian Department of Science and Technology identified focal areas for cooperation including nanotechnology, biotechnology, disaster management, production technology, space technology of RS applications, climate change, clean and efficient energy research as well as medical research on cancer and infectious diseases and brain studies.

China’s first public database of water pollution

A Beijing-based environmental organization began operating China’s first public database of water pollution. The China Water Pollution Map (www., provides information on water quality and the sources of water pollution discharge in 300 Chinese cities. It lists more than 2,500 enterprises accused of causing water pollution.

India to achieve 33 percent forest cover by 2012


The Union Minister for Environment & Forest, Government of India, Thiru. A Raja said that Central Government is committed to the cause of achieving 33% forest and tree cover by 2012 while inaugurating a two-day conference of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests & Chief Wildlife Wardens from all over the country in New Delhi. The 12th Finance Commission has allocated Rs.1,000 crore for the conservation and protection of forests.

Dr R Siva Kumar elected to OGC Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) has chartered a committee of the Board to specifically address the “spatial law and policy issues” which will influence development requirements of the Consortium’s technology process. Both public sector and private sector users and providers of geospatial data and technologies face a wide range of legal issues associated with growth in consumer and business applications for spatial technology. All applications using spatial technology raise issues that involve intellectual property rights, liability, privacy, and national security.

Dr R Siva Kumar elected to OGC Board of Directors

Dr. R. Siva Kumar and Ben Eazzetta have been elected to the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. Board of Directors. Dr. Siva Kumar heads the Natural Resources Data Management Systems and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure Division of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Mr. Ben Eazzetta is President of the Security, Government & Infrastructure Division of the Intergraph Corporation.

India develops more accurate crop production forecasting system

Amidst controversy over whether the country has landed into a wheat crisis this year because of lower production or low inventory, the Centre has decided to make its estimates for evaluating crop output more scientific using remote sensing, agro meteorology, GIS and land observations. Launched by the Ministry of Agriculture, FASAL is a programme for Forecasting Agriculture output using Space, Agro-Meteorology and Land-based observations for better accuracy in crop production. Initially the programme will cover two commodities – wheat and rice. Later it will be extended to all major crops.

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