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Report on the Mountain GIS e-Conference, Nepal - January 14 - 25, 2008, by Mr. Paribesh Pradhan, a member of the organizing team of the conference

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Mountain Forum Secretariat (MFS), located in the Himalayan region, organized a two-week virtual conference on "Promoting Geographic Information and Earth Observation Applications for the Sustainable Development of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region" with 752 participants from 71 countries and 39 presentations from January 14 to 25, 2008.

Dr. Andreas Schild, Director General of ICIMOD, had opened the e-conference with a welcome message. A special video message was delivered by Mr. Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI. A special message was also given by Mr. Surendra Shrestha, Regional Director and Representative of UNEP for Asia and the Pacific in this e-conference.

During the e-conference three themes, "Capacity building and networking, Mountain databases, tools and methods, and Thematic applications and decision support system," were eagerly discussed in order to promote geo-information science and technology for integrated mountain development based on the discussion paper that had been previously prepared by the moderator. (See the attached papers.)

The e-discussions on the above sub-themes touched on issues such as the state of GIS education, both formal and informal, in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region along with the prospects for e-learning and distant education; spatial data sharing and standardization; the need for coordinated efforts in developing key thematic databases; the necessity of moving away from map-making to developing applications to address mountain concerns; how mountain GIS is different from plain GIS; and the role of ICIMOD in the Himalayan spatial data infrastructure (SDI), among others.

The Mountain GIS e-conference will also be archived on the Mountain GeoPortal (http://menris.icimod.net) website, thereby giving continuity in providing a virtual platform for sharing the views and experiences of the participants in this e-conference and other users of GIS applications in future. This initiative is believed to provide a platform to all GIS users which will enable them to collaborate, network and disseminate information, thereby helping to strengthen and foster a vibrant Mountain GIS community.

The abovementioned conference covering the e-discussions and recommendations will be prepared and made available on the Mountain GeoPortal (http://menris.icimod.net).
ICIMOD website:
http://www.icimod.org
http://menris.icimod.net
For further information, contact: infomenris@icimod.org

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