NZ geospatial custodian steps down

By on 5 March, 2013

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After more than three years at the Land Information New Zealand’s Geospatial Office, Kevin Sweeney has recently stepped down from his post as Geospatial Custodian. Rob Deacon, who leads the national SDI programme, will be assuming the role of Acting Geospatial Custodian following Sweeney’s departure.

Sweeney was responsible for New Zealand’s Geospatial Strategy, as well as the administration of the national geospatial work programme to expand the contribution that spatial information and technologies make to New Zealand’s economic growth agenda.

Sweeney also convened and served as Chair of the national Geospatial Steering Committee, responsible for implementation of the Geospatial Strategy work programme across the New Zealand Government and industry.

“It has been an interesting experience,” says Sweeney.

“When I first came to the New Zealand Geospatial Office, the office consisted of only a couple of staff and there was no formal work programme in place. Looking at it now, it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come and achieved after adding several leadership roles to support our various initiatives.”

He comments that it was a privilege working together with the rest of the NZGO team in publishing New Zealand’s Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) Cookbook , launching the national geospatial data catalogue, and contributing to the passage of the cabinet paper, which directs public service agencies to share geospatial information in accordance with a national SDI.

“We in the NZGO often found ourselves explaining what geospatial information is, how SDI can support economic growth and generally what is to be gained from adopting a location-based perspective to information. But while Custodian I also stressed the importance of providing technical support for practitioners and serving as their voice within government.

“I think the challenge really boils down to articulating the value proposition of investing in an SDI and at the same time supporting those who are responsible for making it happen.”

“Establishing an SDI is a long journey and as such strong and ongoing commitment from governments is needed.”

“There’s often a general understanding on what it is and what it can do but much still needs to be done to convince decision makers that it needs to be an integral part of how governments operate and how they do business and that it really does pay off.”

Sweeney says although he’s moved on from his post at the NZGO, he looks forward to contributing to the development of the geospatial community in New Zealand in his future endeavours.

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