15 November 2023, Apia - As the world commemorated GIS Day on 15 November, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Programme (SPREP) joined the global community in celebrating the pivotal role of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in diverse fields with the theme “Celebrating the GIS Professional”. GIS Day each year provides an exceptional platform to recognise the impact of spatial data in transforming industries, addressing climate change, and fostering community engagement, underlining its positive real-world impact.
Over two decades ago, GIS Day was established to promote collaboration and spotlight the transformative influence of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) on diverse sectors, evolving into a global event since 1999, allowing organisations to showcase their contributions to geospatial technology.
SPREP organised an internal GIS Day hybrid awareness workshop for both its local and overseas-based staff to honour the impactful work of GIS professionals and inspire future innovators, highlight innovative applications of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology in spatial analysis and visualisation, and gain insights into geospatial data related to environmental and sustainable development fields.
The workshop delved into global GIS contributions, emphasising community engagement, technological advancements, international collaboration, and SPREP's pivotal role in providing GIS support to its member countries for informed decision-making at national, regional, and global levels.
“The GIS Day is a global annual event celebrating the technology of Geographic Information Systems and provides an international forum for users to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in society,” stated Mr. Jope Davetanivalu, Director of SPREP’s Environmental Monitoring and Governance programme,in his opening remarks.
While focusing on the theme for 2023 GIS Day, the event also highlighted presentations from the Pacific Community (SPC) to share their work on the Digital Earth Pacific (DEP) platform for the region. The SPC presentation provided insights into the latest advancements, platforms, challenges, and the significant impact of Earth Observation in the local context.
Participating SPREP staff were also provided with the opportunity to share their expectations, including gaining an improved understanding and appreciation of GIS and its various real-world applications for supporting better decision-making.
As SPREP commemorated the occasion, SPREP staff also explored the rich history of GIS and its diverse applications, particularly in environmental management. The highlights of the day showcased ongoing projects that are contributing to the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems in the Solomon Islands. Advancements in turtle species mapping, and innovative approaches to addressing climate change through water infrastructure mapping amongst others. A session to raise awareness of the upcoming GIS E-Learning module on Spatial Data Management adds to SPREP’s commitment to upskilling our staff and members on an important GIS component.
The collective efforts not only focused on projects but also on fostering collaboration and building GIS capacity. The successful drone training for our national stakeholders in Samoa and the GIS training conducted for our members underscore the importance of community engagement and the practical impact GIS can have on decision-making processes.
The importance of geospatial technology in addressing the complex challenges facing our planet reaffirms a stepping stone towards a future where GIS continues to be a catalyst for positive change and sustainable development.
The SPREP GIS Day celebration was made possible with assistance from the ACPMEA3 project, BIOPAMA2 project, UNJP-SESS project and the UNEPCISPac5 project.
For more information on how SPREP is innovating through the application of GIS, please contact: Mrs. Vani Koroisamanunu at [email protected] and Mrs. Kasaqa Tora at [email protected]
For more information on the Digital Earth Pacific platform: https://digitalearthpacific.org/
To find out more about the UNJP-SESS Project, please contact Ms Lagi Reupena at [email protected]
For the ACP/MEA3 Programme, please contact Mrs Vani Koroisamanunu at [email protected]
For the BIOPAMA2 Programme, please contact Mrs Kasaqa Tora at [email protected]