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Fall 2007
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Malta Partners Initiate a Nationwide GIS Program

  Austin Gatt and Claudio Grech
Austin Gatt (left), Malta's minister of the Ministry for Investment, Industry and Information Technology; Claudio Grech, head of the minister's Secretariat.

The government of Malta recently signed a strategic alliance agreement with Esri that will facilitate the use of GIS technology throughout various sectors of the government and private industry. The minister of the Ministry for Investment, Industry and Information Technology (MIIIT) signed the agreement. MIIIT is a cabinet-level ministry in the Maltese government and plays a key role in the country's information and communication technology (ICT) strategy.

The alliance follows the objectives of the government's overall ICT plan, that of making the best use of technology by partnering with best-of-breed companies in a win-win relationship. This will encourage and support the local ICT industry in organizing itself into specialized niche areas to provide a comprehensive suite of services. Another provision of the government's technological initiative is to set up industry-leading ICT academies to engender the broadest suite of specialized skills in the local labor market, including GIS.

Says Tim Camilleri, managing director of GeoSYS Ltd., Esri's local distributor, "This is a very significant agreement for both Esri and the government of Malta. GIS initiatives we are developing include implementation strategies within the various government sectors and the promotion of GIS education throughout the entire educational system. In addition, we will help empower local businesses to gain access to the larger global market through participation in Esri's Business Partner Program."

Comments Aart van Wingerden, Esri's manager for Europe, "The active support and participation by regional associates is essential to the success of a corporate/government alliance. GeoSYS is a capable and proactive partner that is crucial to the success of this alliance. The company will undertake the development of key GIS training programs throughout the government and education sectors that will assure a successful introduction and implementation of GIS technology. In addition, it will introduce local high-tech businesses to Esri's Business Partner Program, which will help them gain access to the larger global market."

The GIS implementation is expected to generate wide interest throughout the government because of the technology's potential to enhance Malta's well-established e-government program. The program's success is confirmed by a report published in September 2007 by Capgemini, a European-based consulting firm, indicating that the small country provides the second-greatest number of electronic government services among 31 European countries.

Adds van Wingerden, "Malta's acknowledged success with its e-government program is a testimony to the country's commitment to the ICT industry. GIS is a logical component of its ICT development program because it is an integrating technology that touches many aspects of the industry. The development of GIS expertise in Malta will necessarily strengthen the capabilities of the country's other ICT initiatives."

To jump-start these initiatives, Esri and MIIIT agreed that software would be donated to the GIS labs of the University of Malta and the Malta College for Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST). Training will also be provided to tutors at both institutions and to secondary-school teachers.

More Information

For more information, contact Nick Spiteri, GIS product manager, GeoSYS Ltd. (tel.: 356-2135-0066, fax: 356-2135-0070, e-mail: geosys@geosys.com.mt).

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