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As a member of the International Geospatial Society and the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure, Karishma Busgeeth (HDA spatial information and data manager) was invited to attend atraining seminar on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and land management at the International Centre for Land Policy Studies and Training (ICLPST) in Taiwan from 20 March to 2 April 2013.

The Ministry of Interior of Taiwan funded the trip for threeleading professionals in this field, namely from South Africa, Bolivia and Colombia. The seminar was attended by 55 participants from 35 countries.

The goals of the seminar were to:

• Introduce Taiwan’s development experiences and achievements in GIS and land management
• Provide a forum for the participants to discuss and exchange ideas and experiences
• Form a human resource network of the centre’s alumni

The seminar consisted of lectures, participants’ presentations based on the issues of land management in their respective countries, and field trips.

The series of lectures by the different professors revealed a very progressive and proactive Taiwan at the forefront of bleeding technologies, enabling its citizens to have information right at their fingertips, a clear indication of an advanced ‘Digital City’. The focus was on the applications of geospatial technologies in city competitiveness, disaster monitoring, land management and tourism planning,among others. 

It was enlightening to note how Taiwan is thriving, honing its research and development arenas and, most importantly, inculcating that knowledge at grassroots levels i.e. to schoolchildren. Following on were the participants’ presentations, which focused on the realities of the world and allowed Busgeeth to share NaHSLI, as the HDA’s land analytical tool,with the experts from around the world.

The NaHSLI presentation, brochures and video were very well received.

Various sessionsheld at universities, research centres, agencies and bureaus were highly relevant and informative. Some of the topics discussed, deliberated and fleshed out were:

• The promotion of sound land management and sustainable use of land
• The strong and concrete commitment of government to provide economic funds for the implementation of open data initiatives, and the leveraging of spatial data infrastructures
• The development of wise cities thatare powered by technology, driven by ideas and rooted in innovation and enterprise
• The promotion of a digital society via an intelligent transport system, health system, real estate system etc.
• How the competitiveness agenda has changed the mode of urban governance, and triggered integration and alignment among the public, private and academic sectors

Busgeeth says: “Attending the training seminar afforded me the opportunity to forge deep and genuine relationships with professionals around the world. I gained priceless benefits for my attendance in Taiwan; it was an incredible gathering of innovative thinkers and a true lifetime experience, which willdefinitely benefit the HDA and South Africans.”