Exploring the Transfrontier - Across Political Boundaries


What future plans do you have for growing and/or using GIS?

van Riet: The future of our GIS is to derive a transfrontier conservation model in order to monitor and analyse changes which are occurring in and adjacent to our peace parks. The value of bringing on board specialists and expertise from outside is also a prerogative in order to validate and expose more widely the use of modeling these intertwined spatial activities. We have also recently started looking into animal disease distribution and believe that this will be a very valuable tool for the Southern African Development Community. But our aim remains to expose the functionality and interoperability of a GIS, especially in a field such as ours which is webbed together with an array of intertwined disciplines.

Have you seen political tensions change or diminish as a result of those transfrontier borders that have been created?

van Riet: In southern Africa, political change has enabled us to do our work. Our chairperson, Dr Anton Rupert, had discussions with President Chissano of Mozambique about peace parks in southern Africa in the early 1990s. But it was only once apartheid was dismantled and once peace reigned in Mozambique that this discussion could be taken further and that Peace Parks Foundation could be established.

So while it was not thanks to peace parks that peace in southern Africa came about, I do believe that it is playing a major role in forging strong relations across our borders. When you drop fences between countries, it goes without saying that you have to have very good relations between those two countries and that they would need to work together closely on managing the peace park that lies between them. This is done by way of joint ministerial committees, joint management boards and joint management committees. These permanent management committees deal with conservation; safety and security; finance, human resources and legislation; and tourism. Facilitating the process is an international coordinator.

In what areas would you like to create transfrontier borders, yet are so far unable to because of political strife? Do you see any of that changing in the coming years?

Mr George Archibald, Mr KC Kim and Prof Willem van Riet, with the DMZ in the background © Peace Parks Foundation
An international conference to discuss the conservation of Korea's Demilitarized Zone was held in Seoul, Korea from 14 - 19 July 2004.
van Riet: The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea is the ideal peace park. Because of the way the DMZ was set up, their biodiversity has been remarkably protected. Dr Mandela had met with President Kim Dae Jung in March 2001 to discuss the possibility of making the DMZ a peace park. President Kim Dae Jung reacted positively and encouraged Mandela to continue the dialogue with his counterpart in North Korea, Kim Chong-il. Unfortunately no formal meeting could be arranged with the latter.

An international conference to discuss the conservation of the DMZ was held in Seoul, Korea from 14 - 19 July 2004. While the official outcome of the conference is not yet available, a message of Dr Nelson Mandela, Founding Patron of Peace Parks Foundation was delivered to the conference. As an active participant I demonstrated the possibilities of conserving the DMZ as a peace park and how to go about doing so. I also showed a fly-through to illustrate what the DMZ looks like. Most Koreans have never seen the DMZ and this was therefore a highlight to them. The fly-through was also shown by Korea's national television station.

I believe that there is a very distinct possibility of the DMZ becoming a peace park.



Acquisitions /Alliances/Agreements

Orion Technology and international engineering and project management services firm AMEC announced a strategic partnership in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) arena. The partnership will enable the companies to better serve the GIS needs of a broader range of clients in the United States and Canada.

The Italian Agency for Environmental Protection and Technical Services (APAT), in conjunction with Planetek Italia, has developed Cart@net Mutiserver, an interoperable cartographic reference system. Cart@net Mutiserver efficiently services the land information requirements of APAT's 21 regional offices. Built on Earth Resource Mapping's (ERM) Image Web Server technology Cart@net Mutiserver provides a single point of access to different remote GIS services. GIS vector information is sourced from ESRI's(r) ArcIMS(r), as well as MapServer and Geomedia(r). Over 1.2 terabytes of geospatial imagery is held by Image Web Server.

MapInfo Corporation announced that it has acquired all of the shares of privately-held Southbank Systems Limited, a provider of infrastructure management software and services solutions for the public sector in the United Kingdom and the Asia-Pacific region, for approximately GBP11.7 million (approximately $20.8 million) in cash, subject to a working capital adjustment. Southbank Systems is headquartered in Chatham, England, and also has operations in Scotland, Australia and New Zealand

SiVault Systems Inc., provider of products and services to implement secure storage and retrieval of signed documents and signature-based authentication for processing of on-line transactions, signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire Links Point Inc. (LinksPoint). The parties contemplate an exchange of restricted common stock and the terms and conditions of the share purchase agreement are subject to approval of both boards of directors.

CubeWerx, provider of spatial data warehousing and component-based web services products using OpenGIS® Specifications, announces it is expanding its presence in Canada through a reseller partnership with Forte Consulting Ltd. Through this agreement, Forte Consulting will market and resell CubeWerx products to their enterprise customers.

RT Logic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Integral Systems, Inc., (NASDAQ: ISYS) today announced that it was awarded a contract to supply Telemetrix systems to DigitalGlobe, Inc. The contract value exceeds $2.5M, and initial deliveries are scheduled for late 2004.



Announcements

GeoVantage, Inc. announced the launch of the GeoVantage Rolling Imagery Program (GRIP) throughout the Southeast and Texas. The program is based on a rolling regional schedule, which allows GeoVantage to bundle multiple small imagery orders and offer a cost effective price. By aggregating small orders, GeoVantage can waive minimums traditionally required for custom orders, and pass along price savings to their clients. Smaller organizations can now afford the imagery they need to effectively manage their lands while larger forestry companies benefit from the program's flexibility.

Intermap Technologies Corporation announced that it has received a CAN$2,813,000 (GBP £1,200,000), order for NEXTMap Britain terrain elevation and image data from the Scottish Executive. On behalf of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Scottish Executive has purchased a license for data of northern Scotland. The Scottish Executive previously purchased NEXTMap data for southern Scotland in 2003. The data will be merged with the southern data and used in the preparation of a common set of flood plain maps.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced Kommunales Rechenzentrum Niederrhein (KRZN), the data processing center working for local government authorities in the Niederrhein area, has implemented Intergraph geospatial data management solutions to build one of the country's largest municipal geodata warehouses. KRZN provides computer-based information processing for 8,000 Web and desktop users within the 42 city and county municipalities in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The KRZN warehouse will contain cadastral and related data on 725,000 land parcels and 770,000 buildings.

IMGS also announced its agreement with UNIGIS International is expanding to include academic credit for the Intergraph online education course, "Introduction to Geographic Information Science (GIS)." With an extended registration deadline of Oct. 15, 2004, this online education course provides a theoretical and hands-on understanding of GIS. Initially, the following five UNIGIS international partners have elected to accredit this course: University of Salzburg (Austria); University of Krakow (Poland); University of Goa (India); University of Amsterdam (Netherlands); and University of Girona (Spain). Students at these universities have the opportunity to earn elective subject credits toward reaching UNIGIS MSc (GISc) degrees. The UNIGIS institutions will also integrate these course materials as an optional component of their MSc degrees.

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