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03/09: 1st International Conference on Advances in Space Technologies (ICAST 2006)

Today I participated in the first ever International Conference on Advances in Space Technologies (ICAST 2006) at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. This 2 day conference has been organized by the Institute of Geographical Information Systems (IGIS) of National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Islamabad Section and IEEE / AESS (Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society)/ GRSS (Geosciences and Remote Sensing Society) Societies Joint Chapter. This is the 1st International Conference of the envisaged biennial conferences of ICAST series.

logo icast





Being an IEEE member of Islamabad section, I was selected as a volunteer organizer at the conference. This is the first time I have participated in organizing any conference. Previously, I briefly attended HONET but didn't participate in an organizing role.

icast poster


I enjoyed the conference a lot. I gained some knowledge about Disaster Management and Rehabilitation using GIS (Geographical Information Systems) which was the main topic for this conference. I particularly enjoyed the one-hour session of questions and answers that me and some of my fellow IEEE members asked Dr. Shahid Habib (Department of Science Utilization, Goddard Space Center) who is from NASA. He is a very knowledgeable person and explained it all in a very easy to understand manner. I was quite impressed by him. Even at the closing ceremony, he gave some pertinent remarks about how the bureaucratic process and attitude impedes progress in science in Pakistan. I fully agree with him on this.

Unfortunately, the next ICAST conference is scheduled for 2008 which is a long time away. I hope mini-symposiums are held on fields relating to this conference to generate more interest. Even in this conference, there were 30-40 papers presented by foreigners and over 100 by Pakistanis from various institutes and universities. I am quite proud of this since this is a step in the right direction.
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