Photo - Joanne Loh, Chief Technology Strategist, Esri Malaysia
Senior Malaysian government agency leaders at the annual National Geospatial Information Symposium have said that geospatial technology can play a major role in helping to achieve many goals set out in the 11th Malaysia Plan (RMK11)
A panel of Malaysia's industry leaders during the recent event in Putrajaya, together with senior officers from the National Space Agency, Malaysian Centre for Geographic Data Infrastructure, the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Department of Surveying and Mapping, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi MARA and geospatial solutions provider Esri Malaysia said that geospatial technology has an important role in building inclusive socio-economic programmes.
Esri Malaysia's chief technology strategist, Joanne Loh, said, "As the national government drives the economy and the people forward, better tools and improved capabilities are required to ensure decision-makers have actionable plans for sustainable and inclusive growth."
"In this area, geospatial technology goes beyond making maps of just land cover. It enables decision-makers to combine layers of information, and study the spatial relationships between selected indicators to get a more holistic view of places or regions they are working to develop," said Loh.
"With this technology, policy makers are able to create economic development programs that match the local community's demographics and environment," she said
Malaysia's use of geospatial tools
"Locally, it has helped streamline business processes, and improve productivity and operational efficiencies in organisations - and we are seeing more decision-makers from the country's major commercial, government and non-government enterprises embrace it to deliver their mandate in smarter ways," Loh said
She gave the State of Sarawak as an example, which recently announced the use of geospatial technology to significantly reduce the state's property registration process from one month to a single day.
"The solution significantly reduced field operations and also lowered the cost and time of processing land applications. By doing so, the State has made itself a more attractive place for entrepreneurs and investors to do their business," said Loh.
She said the use of geospatial technology has also helped cities to give communities to enhance the quality of life of their neighbourhoods.
Another local example is the state of Penang's Geographic Information System (GIS) centre, which expanded the benefits of its e-Peta app to advance and support the advocacies of not-for-profit organisations such as George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), the Penang Botanic Gardens, Penang Women's Development Corporation, and alms collection organisation Pusat Urus Zakat.
"With the use of e-Peta, Pusat Urus Zakat mapped the location of Muslim households and analysed the corresponding demographic data in order to determine their needs and identify who should give and receive alms," Loh said.
"By using geospatial technology, Pusat Urus Zakat was able to complete their study in half the time they would have otherwise taken," she said, adding that GTWHI has been using e-Peta to monitor and enhance conservation efforts in Penang's historic George Town.
"With 2020 just a few years away, organisations are now called to be agile in order to enable the interoperability and integration of siloed systems that will facilitate better collaboration across departments and agencies," Loh said.
"Collaboration breeds innovation," she said. "By accessing powerful geospatial tools, organisations have the capability to support the development, design, and growth of our communities in more impactful ways than ever before."
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