|ESRI representative presenting on future technologies underpinned by Geography|
One of the key features of this conference is Business Connect (speed dating for networking). One hour and an-half was devoted for this session whereby each attendee introduce each's work to another person in a table for 90s. It just happened that the first person I connected was my old boss. Though I came for myself, I did introduce my role and what my company does (which generated some interests in certain parties). I will be summarizing the key content of the conference in couple of sections.
80% of any map production time effort and cost is consumed in gathering the geospatial data (i.e. lines, polygons, satelite imagery, DEM). Geospatial data doesn't come cheap or even free, they have hefty costs attached here. Depending on country's policies, some countries offer digital geospatial data for free (i.e. U.S) or big mixture of free and non-free datasets (i.e. Australia). In Australia, where governance is very decentralized, different states offer different policies in dataset distribution and fees. With recent changes of state government and influence from overseas trends, Victorian and Queensland Government decided to offer previously non-free datasets for free downloads (i.e. no need to pay to purchase datasets). This is because of state governments want to have transparency enhanced through free geospatial datasets.
|Department of Environment & Primary Industries (Victoria) presenter on latest news|
In the case of Western Australia (WA), the state government cannot offer free datasets simply because the department in charge is a Statutory Authority. Without much dwelling into politics, Landgate (the one responsible for spatial datasest in WA) should sustain by itself through its own revenue generating mechanisms (state government would not be paying up their bills). Thus, no revenue, no free datasets.
For the moment, Australian cartographers (plus worldwide) can enjoy the free datasets being offered by these institutions.