Students in one of the world’s fastest growing sectors are being given the opportunity to kick-start their career on the world stage, with today’s launch of a university award.

The Esri Young Scholar award is a nation-wide competition, run by Esri Malaysia, which celebrates excellence in geospatial study, and more specifically, the creative use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology – or smart mapping technology – to solve commercial and community issues

Heading up the panel of judges is Esri Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Lai Chee Siew, who is encouraging students to push the boundaries of current geospatial thinking with their submissions.

According to market intelligence firm Infiniti Research, Asia Pacific’s GIS industry is forecast to grow by almost 8 per cent by 2016.

“The technology now underpins many of the country’s major commercial organisations and government departments,” said Mr Lai.

“As such, the demand for geospatial disciplines within Malaysian universities is growing – and many students now regularly draw on spatial thinking and technologies to solve real-world issues.

“Malaysia’s youth is very creative and receptive when it comes to new technologies and we’re excited to see what solutions they can come up to help contribute to the holistic growth of our communities.”

The student selected to win the award will receive a pass to the Esri User Conference, being held in San Diego in July, to meet with Esri founder and president Jack Dangermond, as well as other Young Scholars from around the globe.

They will also have the opportunity to hear from many of the world’s leading geo-enabled enterprises, and network with more than 16,000 geospatial professionals. Entries can cover any topic or field of study, however recommended areas include planning, development, environment, commercial/business, community, conservation, communications, sustainability, and health.

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