The UNSD, Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) organized and staged the webinar Developing Digital Gazetteers Using Free and Open-Source Software on Tuesday 10 May 2022.
The objective of the webinar was to increase awareness and strengthen capacity within the UNGEGN community, on the use of free and open-source software to develop digital gazetteers. The webinar was also done in support of the implementation of the UNGEGN Strategic Plan and Programme of Work 2021-2029, specifically strategies 1 and 5, which are technical expertise and promotion and capacity building respectively.
The webinar was attended by a global audience of over 110 persons, from 49 counties, spanning from Iceland in the north to Argentina in the south. Represented were nine countries from Africa, eight from the Americas, one from the Arab States, eight from Asia and the Pacific and 23 from Europe.
The Chair of UNGEGN Pierre Jaillard, France and Director of UNSD, Stefan Schweinfest delivered opening remarks. Both spoke on the importance of gazetteers and the benefits of bringing together a professional community to share their experiences. Mr. Peder Gammeltoft, Scientific Manager, Norwegian Language Collections, University of Bergen, Norway and chair of the UNGEGN working group on Training Courses in Toponymy moderated the webinar.
The core content featured country and regional experiences on the benefits and challenges of using an open-source approach to develop digital gazetteers, how digital gazetteers were designed, developed and managed and opportunities and next steps on improving the gazetteers. The presentations were delivered by Graciosa Moreira and Viviane Diniz, of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), Brazil, Pier-Giorgio Zaccheddu, of the Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy, Germany and Christopher Stephens, Advisor, New Zealand Geographic Board Ngã Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa, Administered by Toitũ Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand.
The comments shared in the webinar chat, such as "Thank you, grateful for the opportunity to learn more", "thank you for a wonderful seminar", "I learnt a lot", "this has been so educative and enriching" and "this was an excellent webinar" indicated that participants welcomed the webinar and the topic presented.