Capital honoured
for transparency

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA — Abu Dhabi was honoured on Monday for its efforts towards open government and transparency with its adoption of cutting-edge geographic and data software across government departments.

By (Wam)

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Published: Wed 14 Jul 2010, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:48 PM

At a conference drawing more than 13,000 people from 110 countries around the world in San Diego this week, the “Making a Difference” award was presented to Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Secretary-General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

The ESRI International User Conference is being organised by the Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI) in San Diego, California, from Monday. It will conclude on July 16.

Jack Dangermond, president and founder of the Esri software company and conference host, called Al Bowardi “remarkable” while presenting him the award for implementing geospatial data-sharing between government entities. Abu Dhabi’s push towards e-Government services for citizens and businesses started two years ago.

“My sense is that these people are working together and building infrastructure that works,” said Dangermond. “They are a humble people and a modest people.” He then pointed out Abu Dhabi’s aid to Haiti and Afghanistan.

In his acceptance speech, Al Bowardi spoke of his vision of government department and agencies working seamlessly together like the human body, instantly responsive to any changes or demands.

“Our leadership set the goal to have one of the best-performing governments in the world,” said Al Bowardi, who led a delegation of more than 70 Emiratis to San Diego. The Abu Dhabi Spatial Data Initiative (AD-SDI) is a key pillar of the modernisation of the emirate’s government services being implemented under the direction of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces .

The AD-SDI was projected to save around Dh230 million by avoiding duplication and providing accurate information for the delivery of government services ranging from environmental protection to security to city planning.

More than 40 government, academic and private institutions in Abu Dhabi are involved in the project.

The gathering in San Diego this week was the 30th annual conference held by Esri and was projected to be the biggest ever gathering of geographic information system (GIS) professionalsin the world.

Esri, or Environmental Systems Research Institute, was founded in 1969 in California and has become a world leader, with more than 70 per cent of GIS professionals making use of their software.

The software allows users, which range from governments to security agencies to business, to create geographic and information maps using data that can be collected from a wide variety of sources, including, increasingly, citizens using handheld devices.

“Opening the World to Everyone” is the theme of this year’s Esri conference.

Dangermond made a special mention of the United Nations in his opening address for the international body’s use of GIS in its tasks such as peacekeeping and conservation.

In Abu Dhabi, many government entities have invested in GIS technology and enterprise data systems, which allow themes and forms of geographic data to support decision-making on multiple levels. “GIS opened a new world of creativity,” said Al Bowardi.

The emirate of Abu Dhabi has been selected by the Conference to be the featured guest of the year, and for the participation in project (19.20.21) (19 cities in the world, with a population of 20 million people in the 21st century), in an initiative to collect and analyse the impact of population growth on urban and economic planning, and which is still in launch phase.

In spite of the fact that the population of the emirate is less than 20 million, because of the progress achieved in the sector of geographic information systems, adopted them in decision-making process, the cities of Abu Dhabi and New York City/Manhattan were selected to compare the performance indicators in both cities, benefitting from the impact of population growth on their urban development.

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