EuroGeographics General Assembly 2015

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Dr. Zorana Mihajlovic opened the EuroGeographics General Assembly of 2015.

Sixteenth EuroGeographics General Assembly, held from the 4th to the 6th of October 2015 in Belgrade, was the largest so far. There were over 150 delegates from 47 European organizations. Republic Geodetic Authority was the host and co-organizer of the General Assembly.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Dr. Zorana Mihajlovic opened the EuroGeographics General Assembly. Deputy Prime Minister Mihajlovic underlined the importance of connecting with other countries to ensure an effective and reliable system for the exchange of geospatial information. She expressed satisfaction that Serbia is host of the event, which contributes to creating a platform for European Location Framework (ELF).

City Manager Goran Vesic emphasized the importance of networking geospatial data that will allow investors to check information about specific locations where they want to build. As a representative of the city government stated that Belgrade is becoming more frequently host of major European conferences.

General Director of the Republic Geodetic Authority Borko Draskovic informed the participants about the long tradition of geodetic profession in Serbia as well as the main responsibilities of the RGA. Among other things, Director highlighted the most important results in the past period in establishing the Real Estate Cadastre, geodetic networks, digitization of data, making topographical – cadastral products and linking with other institutions for the exchange of geospatial information. Director Draskovic stressed that the priority of RGA is to exchange the geospatial data at European level through participation in the creation of a platform for European location framework. He also talked about the commitment of the RGA to improve the transparency and availability of data for the development of efficient public services.

President of the EuroGraphics Ingrid Vanden Berghe pointed to the key role of establishing a European platform for spatial data, whereby in the initial phase will be available data from the European cadastre and mapping institutions, and will later be extended with new data from other sources. She pointed out that users all over Europe will have easy access to spatial data that is of great importance for investors and thus will encourage the economic development of the countries involved.

Dave Lovell, general secretary and executive director of the association, briefed the participants on the newly elected leaders and candidates for members of the board of EuroGeographics.

The key presentation at this year’s Assembly on providing efficient services to the citizens through e-governance was held by Frank Lejman, head of international relations FedICT from Belgium. After that they discussed the current issues in the work of National Cadastre and Mapping institutions, European and regional projects, as well as plans for further development of the Association. Special attention is paid to supporting the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive through the implementation of the ELF project and associated services.

Jelena Matic-Varenica presented the role of the RGA to meet the needs of Serbian society for geoinformations.

During the roundtable session the delegates participated in the discussion on the following topics: development of a shared vision for ELF; what are the challenges of changing role and how raeact to them National Cadastre and Mapping institutions; and how to include alternative sources of data.

The second day of the Assembly, a session was held on regional cooperation and projects and was chaired by Danko Markovinovic, director of the State Geodetic Administration of the Republic of Croatia. On that occasion, Lorenz Cala, director of the Agency for Coordination of establishing a spatial data infrastructure in Albania, presented the cooperation of member states in the Western Balkans through regionalni IMPULS project. Within a session was organized formal ceremony of handover of data from regional institutions as a contribution to the development of the EuroGeographics products, including EuroBoundaryMap, EuroGlobalMap and EuroRegionalMap.

Afterwards it was further discussed the role of ELF services to satisfy the needs of users who require access to reliable maps and geoinformation from the official sources for all of Europe. Implementation of ELFproject creates the potential that members of EuroGeographics become leaders in the provision of services based on space. They also demonstrated examples of the use of certain services on ELF platform. Stefan Jensen from the European Environment Agency has introduced the use of reference data for the needs of Kopernikus services.

At the Assembly Delegates voted and adopted a work plan, compensation for membership and budget for the year 2016. In addition, two new board members were elected: Werner Hofmann, Director of the Federal Agency for the Cadastre and Meteorology from Austria and Igor Vasiliev Director of the Federal Administration for the Registration of the real estate, Cadastre and Mapping from Russia. In addition to this, the Hungarian Institute of Geodesy, Cartography and Remote Sensing is presented as the host of the next General Assembly to be held next year in Budapest.

Of particular importance to the Association EuroGeographics is Dave Lovell termination of the mandate at the position of Secretary General and Executive Director. Mick Corey officially took this position at the General Assembly in Belgrade.