FIG Working Week 2000, 21-26 May, Prague

Establishing Information Communities -

A Technical or an Organisational Challenge

by Jes Ryttersgaard

Key words:  Data, information, information systems, education.  


1. Introduction

A number of countries are facing the same problems: at the same time they are extending and consolidating their cadastral and cartographic institutions and services and facing the challenges building a market for spatial data and information.

At the same time the individual country has to:

  • take responsibility for capacity building, education and training of young people and staff, to secure continuos development and to stand up to brain drain
  • adjust their organizations to the continued changes in technology
  • update, upgrade and consolidate the cadastral and topographic databases
  • establish a spatial information infrastructure
  • adapt to a commercial marked for spatial information
  • adapt their organizations to regional and global developments

2. The Diversity

New technologies will give us new methods for data capture. Remote sensing will give us cheaper data. Real time positioning will revolutionize the traditional fieldwork, etc.

In time with the new technologies new actors will enter the stage. They will be able to provide us with enormous amounts of data. Physicists, mathematicians, statisticians and other professionals will be involved in data capture traditionally done by surveyors.

The available data will be used as well in public and private administration as in business. Data from different sources and data will be used in new combinations. Users without specific knowledge will use and misuse the data they can get hold of.

To optimize and rationalize the use of data the users, as well public as private, will demand nationwide homogeneous data collections. Spatial data will be integrated in all kinds of information-systems. Sometimes they will be visible. In other cases they will be invisible, but indispensable because they are the real prerequisite for the actual information-system.

There is a need for a general accepted Spatial Data/Information Infrastructure.

3. Conclusions

Often development and implementation of information systems are looked at and presented as a technical challenge. The hypothesis in this paper is that in connection with establishing information-systems involving one or more institutions or agencies the organizational problems turn out to be very fundamental, whereas the traditional technical aspects are of secondary importance.

As previously mentioned other professionals than surveyors are and will be involved in data-capture. On the other hand there is recognition of the need for professionals who can take the responsibility for establishment of the necessary infrastructure spatial information managers.

It is an enormous challenge for universities and technical high schools to adapt their curriculum to needs and demands already recognised. If the educational institutions are able to produce candidates who understand and are able to handle spatial data/information infrastructure, harmonisation and integration of data there are enormous possibilities for employment.

Besides the traditional production of candidates, there is a need for upgrading of surveyors with some years of professional experience. It is urgent to put focus on activities like continuing professional development and distance learning and training.

Jes Ryttersgaard
Informatics Department, National Survey and Cadastre Denmark
Rentemestervej 8
DK-2400 Copenhagen

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