17 August 2001


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 20-24 August 2001

VIENNA, 17 August (UN Information Service) – Improving applications of Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS) will be the key topic of a five-day United Nations/United States of America Workshop in Kuala Lumpur, beginning on 20 August. Representatives of various governmental institutions and private industry from developed and developing countries from the Asia and the Pacific region are to be briefed on both practical and cost-effective space-based solutions which are currently available for different sectors of the economy.

The third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III) identified the need to determine precise locations on the ground for use with Earth observation images and ancillary information in geographical information systems. This location information is needed for a large number of remote sensing applications, some of which support such strategic areas for development as disaster management, monitoring and protecting the environment, management of natural resources and food production. With the availability of high-resolution images, some applications will require a location precision of the order of one meter. The Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), which include the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the United States of America, provide a signal that can serve this purpose and in addition could be used for a large range of other applications with economic benefits for the user.

This regional Workshop, which is the first in the series being co-sponsored by the United Nations Programme on Space Applications and the Government of the United States of America, is being organized in cooperation with the Government of Malaysia, for the benefit of the developing countries in the Asia Pacific region. The Workshop will be hosted by the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia, Ministry of Land and Cooperative Development.

The workshops will focus on specific applications of the use of existing and near-term GNSS and their augmentations to further global environment objectives, sustainable development programmes and deepen the understanding of these applications in developing countries. Such global systems include the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the United States of America, Glonass of the Russian Federation and Galileo of European Community countries. Applications will include monitoring of the environment, precision agriculture, surveying and mapping, resource conservation, and disaster management.

The Workshop will review applications of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems with special emphasis on (i) current status and briefing on the modernization policy of GPS; current status and future developments of Glonass (Russian Federation) and developments in the European Galileo programme; (ii) existing and future potential applications of these systems for sustainable development and protection of the environment of interest for countries in the Asia and the Pacific region; (iii) promotion of regional and international cooperation.

The Workshop will aim at: (i) bringing the benefits of the availability and use of GNSS signals to the awareness of decision-makers and technical personnel from potential user institutions as well as to service providers in the private sector, particularly in developing countries; (ii) identifying actions that could be taken and partnerships to the established by potential users. The Workshop would increase the awareness of participants of the intrinsic value of the GNSS signals in a sustainable development context and motivate their imagination to make use of them in their own programmes and projects. A direct result would be an expanded user base, which is likely to include a network of experienced and beginner users from governmental and academic institutions as well as from the private sector.

United Nations-sponsored space-technology related workshops and training courses are intended to help countries develop indigenous capacity to enable them to benefit fully from the growing world-wide body of know-how derived from space research and developments.

Around 200 participants are expected to attend the Workshop, from the following countries and international organizations: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Vietnam, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, International Maritime Organization (IMO), European Space Agency, and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

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