Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 43, Dec. 1999, pp. 477 – 480
Philippine Mines and Geosciences Bureau, North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Abstract: In recognition of the increasing importance of information technology in the earth sciences, the International Union of Geological Sciences (lUGS), together with professional and governmental organizations, have initiated steps to provide assistance for the development of the capability for data handling and exchange among countries on a regional scale. Along this line, some experience has been gained for countries in Africa through the Pan African Geologic Information System (PANGIS). In the wake of the success of PANGIS, the lUGS, through its Commission for the Management and Application of Earth Science Information (COGEOINFIO) and other organizations have taken initial steps for the establishment of a Southeast Asian Network for a Geologic Information System (SANGIS).
The PANGIS program, which began some years ago, was planned and coordinated by lUGS through COGEOINFO and the French International Center for Training and Exchange in the Geosciences (CIFEG) with support from the United Nations Environmental, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The first activities involved the collection and compilation of bibliographic information associated with the earth sciences and the development of a systematic procedure that was accomplished by CIFEG.
The next phase of the program, involving experts from the geological surveys of Canada, France, United Kingdom, USA and the Belgian Royal Museum for Central Africa, was directed on the development of factual database systems covering field data and boreholes, mineral resources, geochemistry and geohydrology. This phase mainly focused on providing training and technology transfer to African information managers and geoscientists. Representatives from 37 nations received the six-month training associated with this phase of the program.
At the most recent UNESCO General Conference, the achievements of the PANGIS program were recognized by the African representatives and the General Conference accepted their motion for continued support during 1996-1997. At the same time, several Asian countries expressed their interest in this geoscience program and requested UNESCO to initiate a similar initiative in the Asian region during the next bi-annual exercise (1998-1999).
To begin implementing such a program for Southeast Asia, UNESCO and IUGS-COGEOINFO organized a workshop meeting at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in December 1997. Representatives from the geological surveys of Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam, along with selected members of COGEOINFO, UNESCO, and management information experts affiliated with European and North American earth science agencies and international organizations attended to illustrate existing programs and experiences in earth science information. At this meeting, it was recognized that close coordination with ongoing programs and organizations involving the geological surveys of the region is important if the SANGIS program is to be successful. In this regard, the Coordinating Committee for Coastal and Offshore Geoscience Programs in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP) was briefed about SANGIS in its last meeting last March. Hopefully, the SANGIS program can be embraced by GEOSEA and close coordination among the geological surveys of Southeast Asian countries, IUGS-COGEOINFO and other concerned organizations and institutions will evolve through the Program.