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USP facilitates Pacific Island Earth Observation Conference

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USP’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Dr Giulio Paunga officially opened the Conference and in his opening remarks

The Pacific GIS and Remote Sensing Council successfully concluded its “Pacific Island Earth Observation Conference” on 23 February that saw the participation of GIS experts from the Pacific region connecting via Zoom.

The 2-day virtual Conference was coordinated through the University of the South Pacific's regional network and was hosted from the USP Japan ICT Centre at Laucala Campus.

USP’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Dr Giulio Paunga officially opened the Conference and in his opening remarks said the conference was something the Pacific should be proud of.  It is the only conference on Earth Observation that has had so many participants from Pacific Island Countries, as well as from around the globe.

“Nonetheless there has never been a more opportune time such as this period of uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic for you to reinvigorate the strength of GIS and Remote Sensing.  I understand GIS and Remote Sensing has been used across the world for the tracking of COVID-19 infection rates and contact tracing.  Given that vaccines are to be made available soon, the role of GIS and Remote Sensing technology and expertise will be key in the logistical roll-out, including all over the Pacific,” he said.

Dr Paunga added that remote sensing technology expertise and contribution is critical in the Pacific region, especially towards natural resource management, disaster assessments, climate change adaptation and mitigation, agricultural planning and development and infrastructural planning, to name a few.

USP GIS students during the conference.

“That is why USP is very keen to partner with the GIS and Remote Sensing Council to create and enhance GIS applications in the Pacific Island countries to ensure that our USP Member Countries continue to have highly qualified graduates in this very critical industry of Earth Observation,” he added.

USP staff and students also participated in the virtual sessions which included presentations from the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and presentations by specialists such as Dr Laura Lorenzoni and Dr David Green.

Dr Laura Lorenzoni is a Program Scientist for the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program (OBB) in the NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate. The OBB program focuses on describing, understanding, and predicting biological and biogeochemical conditions, interactions and changes in the upper ocean, as determined by observation of aquatic optical properties using remote sensing and in situ data.

Dr. David Green is the program manager for NASA’s Earth Science Applied Sciences Disasters Program. He and his team promote the use of Earth observations derived from space-based instrumentation to improve prediction of, preparation for, response to and recovery from natural and technological disasters.

The University has been supporting the GIS and Remote Sensing Council for over 10 years, including providing the use of its facilities for its annual conferences.

This news item was published on 4 Mar 2021 09:21:37 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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