Free Forestry Conference Puts GIS on the Map

26 August 2010

A national and international line up of geographical information systems (GIS) experts will be punching Rotorua’s coordinates into their sat-navs in October, as they converge on the city for a unique forestry event.

On 6 October, Crown Research Institute Scion is hosting a free conference to raise awareness of how GIS technology can be used to best advantage within the forestry sector.

Aimed at forest managers and GIS professionals who work within the forest industry, “Mapping out NZ Forestry’s Future’’ has attracted a wide range of industry speakers, from New Zealand and overseas. Presenters include Peter Eredics, Forestry Industry Solutions Manager with ESRI, a global market leader in GIS software headquartered in the United States.

GIS technology allows users to capture multiple layers of geographic information relating to their land. This data can be interrogated, visualised and analysed to help identify and understand spatial relationships, patterns and trends, and how management decisions will impact on a variety of criteria, including economic and environmental.
Bob Forgan, Manager of Scion’s ATLAS Technology, says while many within the forestry industry already use GIS technology, historically the range of its use has been limited.

“GIS has been used very effectively in forest management for many years, but primarily for mapping out land for operational purposes,” Mr Forgan says.

“Used to its full potential, GIS is a hugely valuable tool for economic and business analysis, and ultimately for decision support. It is the analytical power of GIS that defines it from simple mapping tools. This is often overlooked, and that is what we hope to redress through this conference.”

The conference, to be held at Waiariki Institute of Technology, will give delegates an insight into global GIS developments and trends, provide case studies on innovative use of the technology and successful applications in New Zealand forestry, and examine what the future holds.

In addition to Waiariki Institute of Technology and ESRI, the event is being supported by software developer Geographic Business Solutions (GBS) and systems integrators Eagle Technology.