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Suva, FIJI – November 22, 2021: 3.20pm (PGRSC): “GIS and remote sensing contribute to building the resilience of small island developing states in the Pacific and also assist in managing the risk to their vulnerabilities.”

University of the South Pacific vice-chancellor Professor Pal Aluwhalia made the comment while opening the two-day Pacific GIS and Remote Sensing (PGRSC) virtual conference hosted by the Vanuatu Government today.

He said the university had expanded its undergraduate courses in Geospatial science.

This includes “more earth observation courses encompassing traditional big pixel remote sensing with the latest high resolution satellite data, drone imagery, radar imagery”.

Keynote speaker Pacific Community (SPC) geoscience, energy and maritime division Director, Andrew Jones, said the new Digital Earth pacific system would help Pacific Island countries mitigate the challenges they encounter with earth observation data.

He said the system condensed freely available satellite data for the past 30 years to help island countries make informed decisions.

“[The system] will be operationally updated every time a satellite passes over, so you will have up to date information freely accessible,” Mr Jones said.

The flagship programme is spearheaded by SPC following robust consultations with geospatial community, sectoral and line ministries across the region.

The PGRSC annual conference provides a platform for geoscience and remote sensing users from across the region and around the world to interact and exchange ideas on how to address challenges they encounter.

The conference is organized by the PGRSC in partnership with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), USP, and Open Street Map Fiji.

Event sponsors are the Vanuatu Ministry of Lands, Geology and Natural Resources; Maxar; SPC and the Pacific Risk Information System; South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Bluecham; Lion One; Vodafone; Vanuatu – department of climate change; department of industry; department of Forestry; National Statistics Office; and the Port Villa City Council.

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