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Esri user conference coming to Abu Dhabi

MENAUC will focus on benefits of GIS solutions for smart government

Esri user conference coming to Abu Dhabi
Jack Dangermond will present a keynote address focused on how GIS can underping smart communities.

Abu Dhabi is to host the MENA region end user conference for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist Esri.

The Esri Middle East and North Africa User Conference (MENAUC) will take place from 17-19th November at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Esri selected Abu Dhabi as the location for the conference because of the strong uptake of GIS systems by the government of Abu Dhabi, and the application of GIS solutions for smart government.

Jack Dangermond, president of Esri commented: "One of the most thrilling achievements of my career has been Esri's collaboration with Abu Dhabi to create a spatial data infrastructure [SDI], which drives ADSIC's vision to serve Abu Dhabi's citizens with spatially enabled e-government services. Government GIS expresses all that data in maps, connecting the divisions of government and engaging all participants for fully informed decision making. That's what we call 'future proofing' and what makes organisations resilient to the inevitable flux of a dynamic world. Abu Dhabi perfectly exemplifies that integration model."

Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre (ADSIC) has been using Esri solutions for almost a decade as part of the Abu Dhabi Spatial Data program.

HE Rashed Al Mansouri, director general, ADSIC said: "I am proud of how far the Abu Dhabi Spatial Data program has come since its inception in 2007, growing to more than 70 stakeholders who contribute to the development of the emirate. Here in Abu Dhabi, GIS has provided us [with] the tools to plan effectively and comprehensively, make informed decisions, and carry out the results of those decisions in a coordinated and efficient way. Everyone who attends the MENAUC comes with the singular mind-set of improving life for end users through GIS technology. It is an inspiring event that pushes all of us to think creatively and execute efficiently in the years ahead."

Dangermond will open MENAUC with a keynote showing how GIS as a location platform underpins the planning, operations, and management of smart communities, including transportation, social services, public safety, economic development, and citizen engagement. Being the standard bearer for geospatially enabled government, Abu Dhabi will be at the forefront of Dangermond's address.

Examples of smart government initiatives in Abu Dhabi include the New Unified Addressing and Wayfinding System, Onwani (‘My Address'). Onwani is a smart addressing system that makes navigation and location finding easier than ever. Previously, a formal addressing system didn't exist in Abu Dhabi, so Onwani was initiated based on international best practices. An example of smart technology is the Quick Response (QR) Code that will be placed on every street sign pole and building and can then be scanned using smartphones to reveal details about the location. The Onwani system meets many key smart government objectives, such as improving emergency response times, reducing travel times and environmental impact, and stimulating economic development.

Another example of geospatial enablement is the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (ADDOT). ADDOT released a smart mobile app called Darb (‘path') that provides real-time data via maps showing traffic jams and accidents. Darb allows motorists to choose alternative routes and navigate the city more easily, and it includes a feedback feature that engages citizens to report infrastructure problems, such as downed light poles. The app has already had a positive impact on transportation and quality of life in the emirate.

Having a geospatially enabled government has had such a beneficial impact that GIS has become a required curriculum for all K-12 students in the Abu Dhabi school system.

Dangermond's address will highlight the above-mentioned examples (and many more) and be followed by a presentation by Khawla Al Fahim, executive manager of ADSIC and the key figure who supervised and oversaw these geospatial advancements. Fahim will detail the benefits of smart government and present the next step in Abu Dhabi's journey to become a smarter and more resilient emirate.

Many other users from around the region will also present at MENAUC about their transition to smarter government. As the stories of those successes are told, the number of local and national smart government models will multiply exponentially.

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