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Date(s) - 15/12/2015 - 17/12/2016
12:00 am

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Cartography, the art and science of representing a geographical area on a flat surface, has evolved from its early days of Babylonian tradition of mapping the world on a flattened disk shape form. Charting its course from dependence on the accounts of travellers to using telescope for determining the length of degree of longitude, the scope of cartography has grown by leaps and bounds with advancement in spatial data collection methods, initially with aerial photographs followed by satellite imageries furnishing the latest images by the minute. Maps are no longer confined to static paper but have made their niche in the digital realm extending into the World Wide Web. The scope and importance of cartography, in its various forms, has increased over the years with location based data being the need in nearly every discipline. The utility of the subject is not only limited to geography but has extended to other spheres including governance. Good Governance stands to benefit immensely from the various forms and techniques of cartography. Be it the ability to integrate multiple layers of information to assess the suitability for a future project or the pattern of an existing situation or coding of properties for taxation purpose, the scope is infinite. There is just a need to continuously innovate, streamline the processes and outputs with the needs and expectations of the end user to garner further success and acceptability. This conference focuses on the scope of governance in development, planning smart cities and disaster management though a geo-spatial approach.

Globally, governance has been accepted as one of the key components which influence development.  United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has acknowledged the importance of democratic governance by focussing on it in post-2015 development agenda. Experience with Millennium Development Goals have revealed that progress towards the goals, in many instances; have been hampered by the absence of good governance. Governance, as defined by UNDP, “is the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the management of a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. Governance encompasses, but also transcends, government. It encompasses all relevant groups, including the private sector and civil society organizations.” Good governance involving equity, transparency, participation, responsiveness, accountability and the rule of law is instrumental in furthering the cause of development since ineffective institutions cause most harm to the poor and the vulnerable. Spatial governance is an important element of governance; it is instrumental in shaping of towns, cities and regions through policies, plans and strategies centering on land use planning, public policy and community engagement. An interesting outcome of post-liberalisation urban spatial governance is the concept of competitive cities, strongly characterised by pro-economic growth strategies, innovation, risk-taking abilities and an orientation toward the private-sector.

Reflecting on the need for creating liveable, competitive and self reliant cities, the Finance Minister of India proposed the development of hundred smart cities during the budget speech of 2014-15. Smart cities are perceived to provide good and reliable infrastructure and services, attract investments and provide citizen centric services. Governance is one of the pillars of smart cities. Smart cities have the potential to be all inclusive cities integrating various aspects of quality of life. Besides, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which can potentially make the management of cities citizen centric, efficient, accountable and transparent; spatial data plays a very critical role as it can be utilised by the planners and decision-makers to draw attention to the socio-economic issues of the city and to include the poverty hot spots in the development process.

Governance influences many spheres and extends its support to disaster risk reduction as well. It influences the coordination between various actors (including governments, parliamentarians, public servants, the media, the private sector, and civil society organizations) to manage and reduce disaster-related risk. The urgent need for effective governance to avert disasters arises from the increased vulnerability to hazards, globally. Asia-Pacific has emerged as the world’s most disaster prone area. The region has recorded a near threefold rise in deaths because of natural disasters in the past decade according to UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). India has also been rocked by disasters in the recent past be it the Bhopal gas tragedy (1983), Odisha supercyclone (1999),Gujarat earthquake (2001), tsunami (2004), Uttarakhand floods (2013) or the most recent Kashmir floods (2014) and the Great Nepal Earthquake (2015). One laudable example of the role good governance played in restricting the loss of lives and damage to property is the case of Cyclone Phailin (2013) which was in similar intensity to the Odisha supercyclone in 1999. Government cooperation, preparedness at the community level, early warning communication played an important role in speedy evacuation. Surveying, mapping, remote sensing and GIS techniques are now increasingly being used for disaster management through the production of model for visualisation of the effect of disaster, to mitigate, effectively organise rescue efforts and undertake post disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation. Geo-spatial approach involving early forecasting and warning using remote sensing data, urban vulnerability assessment and mapping, addressing appropriate land use zoning, amending building codes as well as local responses play an important role in disaster risk reduction. By identifying the risks and vulnerabilities, geo spatial data can aid in increasing the adaptability and resilience of the affected.

The XXXV INCA International Congress focused on several sub-themes.

  1. Recent Trends in Cartography for Development Planning
  2. Geo-Spatial Technologies for Planning Smart Cities.
  3. Cartography for Population, Environment and Development
  4. Geo-Spatial Approach and Regional Development.
  5. Cartography for Disaster Management
  6. Geo-Spatial Technologies for Sustainable Tourism
  7. Natural Resource Monitoring and Management
  8. Rural Planning and Decentralisation
  9. Mountain Cartography
  10. Geo-Spatial Technologies for Defence, Conflict Resolution and Human Development
  11. Mapping Social Exclusion and Discrimination
  12. Cartography Education and e-learning courses
  13. Historical Cartography
  14. Web maps and Atlases

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