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Govt supports Geospatial Research Centre

5 September 2006

Govt supports Geospatial Research Centre

The government will provide $2 million towards the establishment of a Geospatial Research Centre in Christchurch that will carry out commercially relevant research for the rapidly evolving geospatial industry, Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard announced today.

The centre is a partnership between the University of Canterbury, the University of Nottingham, and Canterbury Development Corporation. It will be established within Canterbury University’s recently announced New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute (UCi3).

"Geospatial technology involves the gathering, storage, processing and use of data that is referenced to geographical location, and has many applications in New Zealand. Some of our companies are already developing world-class capability in this area. Research at the new centre will help increase revenues, reduce costs, and enhance productivity in a variety of industries, delivering an estimated net economic benefit of $63 million over 10 years," Trevor Mallard said.

A key focus of the Labour-led government is economic transformation - working with business and sector groups to deliver a high income, high-wage, export-led economy through growing more globally competitive firms, and the geospatial centre is a step towards this.

The Geospatial Research Centre will include a focus on technologies associated with gathering geospatial data, complementing New Zealand’s existing strengths in the analysis and use of such information. Geospatial technology has potential applications in activities as diverse as surveying, environmental monitoring, precision agriculture and global positioning systems.

The centre will establish strong linkages with industry to ensure it delivers clear commercial benefits. A number of the centre’s key potential customers are located in Canterbury. Many have expressed an interest in supporting the centre and 25 potential projects have already been outlined.

"The centre provides a unique opportunity for Canterbury and New Zealand to gain a competitive advantage by accessing world-class knowledge in a developing industry and using it to benefit industry, tertiary education institutions and research bodies.

"It will encourage local reinvestment, assist with product development, and provide opportunities to those businesses providing products and research services to the geospatial industry," Trevor Mallard said.

This initiative is a Major Regional Initiative – a component of the Regional Partnership Programme, run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Notes to editors:

About New Zealand Trade and Enterprise:
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is the New Zealand government's national economic development agency. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is a global organisation committed to improving the international competitiveness and sustained profitability of New Zealand businesses.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise also has a regional network within New Zealand and works closely with local government, economic development agencies and other regional allies to grow their regional economic base, to identify and address barriers to growth, and to stimulate and develop new business opportunities.
The regional partnership programme provides support for regions to undertake major projects that build on their competitive advantages. Funding of up to $100,000 per region per three years for strategic planning, up to $100,000 per 12 month period for capability building and up to $2 million for Major Regional Initiatives per three year cycle is available to help regions realise their potential.
For more information: www.nzte.govt.nz
About the New Zealand ICT Innovation Institute (UCi3):

UCi3 has been set up at the University of Canterbury to build long term strategic partnerships with New Zealand and global ICT companies to further joint research opportunities and ensure a steady stream of world class ICT graduates for future industry growth.

UCi3 has received $9.7 million in funding from the Tertiary Education Commission’s Partnerships for Excellence programme. It has developed partnerships with IBM, Hewlett Packard, Jade Software Corporation and Tait Electronics, and raised $9.7 million to match the government funding. The key focus of UCi3 is to overlay academic research strengths with industry-based themes, with each theme having an industry-led project leader. Geospatial technology will be one of the industry-based themes.

For more information: http://www.ict.canterbury.ac.nz/

About the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy (IESSG):

The Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy is an internationally recognised research and teaching centre that has been at the leading edge of location-based research since its inception. Much of its activity has centred on satellite navigation and positioning systems, but it also undertakes more fundamental research projects and other specialised research applications in fields such as engineering surveying and precision agriculture.

For more information: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/iessg/

ENDS

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