July 13, 2010
Redlands, CaliforniaIn Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), e-government is flourishing as a way to conduct business, with many online government services available via the Abu Dhabi Government portal. Government agencies also share data related to the emirate's governmental and commercial projects and enterprises.
Geospatial data and geographic information system (GIS) technology play an important role in the success of e-government, which is why Esri presented its annual Making a Difference Award to the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC). His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, secretary general of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, accepted the award from Esri president Jack Dangermond on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Government at the 2010 Esri International User Conference, which is being held this week in San Diego, California. "Thank you, Jack, for recognizing the achievement of Abu Dhabi. We are honored with this award," said Mr. Al Bowardi.
ADSIC administers the Abu Dhabi Spatial Data Infrastructure (AD-SDI), which facilitates geospatial data sharing among government agencies and other stakeholders. As part of Abu Dhabi's visionary and ambitious e-government program, AD-SDI empowers government and society with convenient, open access to high-quality and up-to-date geographic information and spatially enabled e-government services.
Dangermond lauded the visionary thinking and spirit of collaboration in Abu Dhabi for this project.
"In Abu Dhabi, we are seeing a marvelous spatial data infrastructure," Dangermond said. "It's certainly leading the world in implementing all kinds of geospatial information into an information system that supports open and integrated government. This just didn't happen by chance. It took leadership, financial support, and collaboration."
The AD-SDI initiative's ultimate goal is to create a seamless network of interoperable geospatial portals that will provide easy access to all geospatial information in the emirates. Secure government and publicly accessible geoportals have been set up, and the information available is constantly being expanded and updated. Mr. Al Bowardi also thanked the members of the audience for sharing their GIS knowledge, which allowed Abu Dhabi to create and build a spatial data infrastructure that works so well. "We owe our achievement to you for opening a new world of creativity and achievement for mankind."
He said that AD-SDI is designed much like the human body. "It needed cohesiveness, coordination, and complexity. The brain and body must react instantly," he said. This is important, according to Mr. Al Bowardi, because the flow of geospatial information must be seamless for all facets of government—from routing ambulances to planning new, sustainable cities—to run smoothly. "Government must perform like a human body—a total system reacting with millions of sensors."
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