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Fifth Conference of Global Spatial Data Infrastructure

More than 250 participants from 49 nations attended the Fifth Conference of Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI 5) in Cartagena, Colombia, May 22-24, 2001. Organized under the theme "Sustainable Development: GSDI for Improved Decision-Making," the event was an exciting and informative opportunity for geodata producers and spatial data infrastructure (SDI) technology developers to share their thoughts and projects with decision makers from public and private sectors. The Colombian government took a leading role with GSDI through its national mapping agency, Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute (IGAC).

The President of Colombia, Andres Pastrana, sent a message to the conference, saying, "The Government of Colombia is pleased and takes utmost interest in, through the Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute, the responsibility for the coordination of GSDI activities during the 2001-2002 period, a decision that we understand is a recognition for all our country's efforts in this field, both at the local and international levels."

GSDI 5 highlights included the following:

  • Santiago Borrero, Director General, Agustin Codazzi Geographic Institute, assumed the GSDI chairmanship for the period 2001-2002.
  • GSDI will produce a statement on the need for global data sets for sustainable development, to be tabled at the forthcoming United Nations Rio+10 Summit taking place at Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002.
  • To better achieve its goal and objectives, GSDI resolved that it intends to evolve into a public/private not-for-profit organization.
  • In memory of the late Dr. Jack Estes, chair, International Steering Committee on Global Mapping (ISCGM), Jack Dangermond, Esri president, launched a software grant for GSDI and global mapping (see "Esri Launches Major Grant Initiative").
  • The GSDI 5 conference incorporated the third meeting of the Permanent Committee on Spatial Data Infrastructures for the Americas (PC IDEA) and the eighth ISCGM meeting.
  • PC IDEA and its sister committee for Asia and the Pacific (PCGIAP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding addressed to promote common ground areas for SDI development at the regional level.

GSDI 6 will be held in Budapest, Hungary, in September 2002. The event will be organized by EUROGI and the Hungarian National Geographic Information Association (HunGAI) under the responsibility of Gabor Remetei. The conference theme will be "From Global to Local" and will incorporate the ninth meeting of the ISCGM and, most likely, the Plenary Assembly of EUROGI.

The set of resolutions and papers submitted to GSDI 5 is available on the Web ( at For more information, contact Dora InÚs Rey (tel.: 571-3681057, fax: 571-3680950, e-mail:, Web:

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