On occasion of Smart Korea 2011 and the first United Nations-Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Forum in Korea, Suh Myong-kyo, Director General of Geospatial Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, contributed an article on geospatial information to Business Korea.
In Korea, we live in a society where almost 9 out of 10 passersby carry a cell-phone in their hand. Out of the 9, most likely over half carry a smartphone. Cellular phones are no longer a luxurious item to brag about, but instead an absolute necessity in daily life. This trend is not confined to Korea, but has become a global lifestyle trend.
However, the term GIS, which stands for Geospatial Information System, still may seem unfamiliar to many. Geospatial Information, hereafter abbreviated to GI, literally means information gathered about space. Space includes ground, underground, water above and below the surface, sky and the universe. It not only covers information about the location of mountains, rivers, clouds and artificial objects, but also their properties and other relevant information. In a narrow term, it is concerned with maps and navigation, etc., but in a broader term, it involves the geospatial aspects of natural occurrences and human behavior, including topography, meteorology, transportation, land, construction, commercial areas, and the distribution of businesses. Today, such information is becoming more and more accessible through hand-held smartphone devices.
Since 1995, the Korean government has steadily established national geospatial information systems as a core part of its policy. Currently, around 600 GI systems are in operation. Based on leading IT infrastructure, these systems provide conveniences to people as well as improve administration efficiency.
Korea established a law for constructing a national spatial data system and promoting its technology and the industry. We also have the strategic national spatial Information policy. Renewed every 5 years, the plan is currently in its 4th term.
The three previous plans, conducted from 1995 to 2009, covered establishing the foundation for national GI systems and linking and integrating individual networks within the public sector.
Through such plans, the Korean government has collected and managed large amounts of geospatial data and information resources, helping to rapidly increase its technological development improve its administrative services. However, such data and resources are often not easily found or accessible. In particular, it is difficult for industries and individuals.
The fourth term began last year, and is focused on sharing and opening more data. Emphasis should be placed on this stage of the plan because it is helping people make informed decisions and entrepreneurs turn data into new services, thus creating new jobs. Furthermore, it is believed that open government is the essence of democracy.
In order to solve such issues, we feel a new mechanism is required to provide opportunities to conduct business in new and innovative ways.
As a solution, at this time, our government is working on establishing an open platform in which both public and private sectors can easily access and utilize spatial information and resources in usable forms. The platform will be Internet-based, providing data on spatial information, services, and applications, including an advanced high resolution 3-dimensional virtual map. Most importantly, the platform will provide effective and timely information to users. We plan to expand the service district step-by-step, from Korea to specific spots overseas. We are currently establishing a specialized group to efficiently manage the platform, and intend to introduce it by the end of the year. Korean private enterprises such as Korea Telecom, NHN, Daum, and Korean Cadastral Survey Corporation recently announced their participation in the project.
We expect the platform will be utilized for planning, businesses, and day-to-day purposes. It can effectively support problem solving and policy formulation for current global issues like unusual weather changes and natural disasters. The platform will naturally leverage the development of geospatial technology and the standardization of a geospatial system in Korea. It will also be able to work as a global network able to adequately respond to current global issues. Furthermore, it is my hope that this platform will become a cornerstone for creating a new virtual world through global network cooperation.
In the process, our government is providing data for underground facilities such as pipelines for water, sewage, gas, and heating, as well as wiring for electricity and telecoms. In addition, we are establishing data for underground waters and forestry, etc. We believe this will help strengthen preventive measures for disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, flood, and drought.
In order to share geospatial information between public institutions such as central and regional governments and public agencies, we are working on networking and centralizing individual GI systems. Furthermore, we are in the process of developing analysis tools to allow an easy usage of centralized data. The tools will cover land use, city maintenance, landscape, and regional planning, etc. This model, the Korean Planning Support System (KOPSS), will help each individual organization decide its policy on the better solution for environmental design and maximize energy efficiency.
We are also mandating that all facilities be equipped with the Unique Feature Identification (UFID). At present, all organizations have different identifications for their facilities, causing confusion and inefficiency. The newly applied UFID will promote the efficient access I.
In regards to real estate, we intend to make a singular, compact system from the existing complicated, spread out administrative management. Our government expects the outcome of such integration to promote administrative efficiency, as well as reduce complaints from citizens.
Just last August, the Korean National Assembly passed a new law regarding Cadastral Resurvey. The law aims to promote the digitalization of the cadastral paper-based map, which was initially designed 100 years ago. The cadastral map, confusing with its mismatched land parcels and boundaries, will become more accurate through the advanced GI technology applications. The process is expected to take an estimated 20 years, up to 2030, and has been set a budget of US$1.2 billion.
It is predicted that the current geospatial information industry has the potential to generate significant value, growing 11% globally. In terms of the GI related market size, by 2015, approximately 149 trillion won is forecasted in the sensing and GIS sector, and 997 trillion won in the field of applications, such as location-based services (LBS) and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Meanwhile, Korean domestic GI industries are expected to grow an additional 3 trillion won by 2015, creating over 22,000 new jobs in various sectors, including property, mobile, and ITS.
As mentioned earlier, Korea is at the forefront of sharing and opening its policy regarding GI. This should not be confined as a one country issue, but instead dealt as a global issue. The world we live in today has many environmental issues arising from unexpected climate change and natural disasters. Only when GI is globally interconnected can it work towards effectively responding to current global issues.
It is believed that the world will progress into a creative society based on various knowledge information gathered. It is my firm belief that only when GI is further shared and opened, will it operate more efficiently and effectively in accelerating and promoting the realization of a better future world.
In terms of that, the hosting of United Nations-Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) Forum first in Korea this coming October 24 through 26 at COEX has significant meaning. It is followed by a national land digital expo “Smart Korea 2011” from the 26 to 29 at Kintex. In 2012, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) will also be held in Korea, with leading global organizations such as USFDC, NASA, and Google attending.
Many tasks will be at hand at this year’s inaugural UN-GGIM Forum and we hope great ideas will come out of this gathering.