2014 MundoGEO#Connect, Brazil - a large regional meeting about the latest developments in geospatial technologies for Latin American countries

Alejandro Coca

Although these days the 2014 World Cup in Brazil has caught the attention of most of the international audience, MundoGEO#Connect - the largest event of geospatial technologies in Latin America, has brought together thousands of experts, researchers, users and executives to update and share the latest developments on land-use planning and management supported by geospatial technologies. During this event, the Terra-i initiative was presented as an innovative tool for regional decision making as part of a Geospatial Public Managers' seminar organized by GeoSUR program and MundoGEO.

Figure 1. GeoSUR program organized a special panel as part of the geospatial public managers' seminar. The main achievements of this initiative were highlighted and their award recipients, including the Terra-i project, gave presentations on how their participation has been playing key roles in the regional goals of geospatial data integration and connectivity. In this photo, left, Santiago Borrero (Panel moderator and GeoSUR coordinator) and right, Eric Van Praag (GeoSUR coordinator). Photo credits: MundoGEO.

MundoGEO#Connect LatinAmerica events have been held since 2011 and were founded on a new concept of exposing geospatial resources and technology to their market potential in Latin America. Focusing on interaction and connectivity, the event brings together experts, researchers, end-users and executives.

Figure 2. This year, in its fourth edition, the MundoGEO event was attended by 4,680 people from over 25 countries, as well as 185 speakers and 57 exhibitors at the trade fair. Photo credits: MundoGEO.

The Terra-i initiative, as 2013 GeoSUR awarded project, was invited to the event, in collaboration with MundoGEO and GeoSUR program, to participate in the Geospatial Public Managers' seminar. This seminar gathered representatives from global institutions offering projects and solutions that utilize geospatial data to support government decision making processes. Host country specialists from the environmental and land planning secretaries and the Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) began the seminar. In addition, speakers from companies and external institutions such as Blue Marble, gvSIG association, the Pan American Institute of Geography and History (PAIGH), the GeoSUR program, Google, BlackBridge, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, the Uruguayan Spatial Data Infrastructure program and the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management program (UN-GGIM) presented a variety of proposals, tools and applications that can assist decision making processes in regards to land-use planning and management.

In summary, the following points can be highlighted from this one-day seminar:
- The GeoSUR program is leading a large network of regional institutions, mainly public, with the aim of gathering and delivering geospatial data through a user friendly web portal. They are also promoting regional trainings and webinars to integrate and standardize spatial data generated by countries. For further details about this initiative contact Eric Van Praag or Santiago Borrero (both program coordinators);
- The Global Geospatial Information Management (GGIM), a youth program from the United Nations, is projected to play a leading role in setting the agenda for the development of global geospatial information and to promote its use to address key global challenges. The GGIM-Americas, created in 2013, is formed by five work groups led by multiple countries: 1) data gathering and integration (Colombia); 2) risk and climate change data access and use (El Salvador); 3) data technical standards and regulation (Mexico); 4) coordination and regional cooperation (Mexico); and 5) promotion and training of spatial data infrastructure (Chile). For further details contact Mónica Aguayo (executive secretary).
- In addition to the achievements of Brazilian institutions in improving geospatial data infrastructure there are other nations, such as Peru and Uruguay, that are implementing interesting schemes supported by regional experts to management and deliver their spatial data.
- International organizations such as Google, Blackbridge, OGC and gvSIG have been increasing their portfolio of services to support decision making and natural resources monitoring in the region. These developments not only are aimed at spatial specialists, they are also considering the general community which is gaining an appreciation of the potential of geospatial data.

Others facts coming from this geospatial week:
- OGC in collaboration with MundoGEO provided a geospatial standards training where an OGC membership was provided for each participants representing universities, local, regional and state governments agencies, research institutes, and nongovernmental organizations (limited to one membership per eligible organization). CIAT is now one of the beneficiary of one free membership (1 Year) and this access will be used to strengthen different aspects of CIAT's spatial data infrastructure.
- In complement to the MundoGEO event Terra-i team member Alejandro Coca also participated in the inaugural EcoHack event which focused in community mapping of environmental threats. This event, which also happened in others cities around the world, produced in only one day, applications such as the Eco Resistance and São Paulo hydrological network.

The Terra-i initiative thanks MundoGEO and GeoSUR program for the invitation and organization of this regional event. This set of events show how geospatial information is increasing its potential to support decision making for governments and also how the community at large is realizing the importance of this information to face daily threats.

Blog post by Alejandro Coca. English version revised by Edward Jones (CIAT/CCAFS visiting

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