Press Releases

    UNIS/OS/320
    11 November 2005

    United Nations Co-organizes Workshop on Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems

    VIENNA, 11 November (UN Information Service) -- A three-day "International Workshop on Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Spatial Information and Sustainable Development" will be held at the Ecole Mohammedia d'Ingénieurs of the Université Mohammed V-Agdal (UMVA) in Rabat, Morocco, from 14 to 16 November. The Workshop is being co-organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), the Institut Scientifique of UMVA and the UN-affiliated African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology in French Language (CRASTE-LF).

    Space technologies, particularly Earth observation techniques, are powerful tools for sustainable development. The Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 clearly emphasized the use of space technologies to improve the decision-making process in several domains and to address areas of underdevelopment, particularly in Africa.

    Remote sensing, combined with GIS, makes a significant contribution to land use, natural resource management, public health and the management of natural disasters. The continuous use of these technologies depends on a sustained effort involving information, training, capacity building and adaptation to local conditions. In order to ensure the efficient use of space technologies and their applications to sustainable development in a specific area, it is necessary to establish a regional framework for training, cooperation and networking.

    The Workshop aims to promote a forum for dialogue and the exchange of information at the national and regional levels. It will bring together scientists, trainers and potential users of remote sensing and GIS, to share their knowledge and experience, as well as to define areas of cooperation in research, training and applications in the field of Earth observation techniques. The Workshop will also be attended by students from CRASTE-LF participating in nine-month postgraduate courses in remote sensing and GIS.

    The Workshop will address the following topics: current Earth observation systems; environment and biodiversity; natural resource management; natural and technological risks; thematic applications, such as agriculture, land use and geology; and education and capacity building.

    Approximately 130 participants from the following countries and international organizations will take part in the Workshop: Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, France, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United States, ESA, ISESCO, CRASTE-LF and OOSA.

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    The United Nations Programme on Space Applications is implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and works to improve the use of space science and technology for the economic and social development of all nations, in particular developing countries. Under the Programme, the Office conducts training courses, workshops, seminars and other activities on applications and capacity building in subjects such as remote sensing, communications, satellite meteorology, search and rescue, basic space science, satellite navigation and space law.

    The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at  http://www.unoosa.org/ .