UN report questions our understanding of ‘geospatial’


A new report setting out the five to ten year vision of the rapidly growing geospatial information industry has been published by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM).

The report is titled, ‘Future Trends in geospatial information management: the five to ten year vision.’ The report’s executive summary reads:

A number of important technology‑driven trends are likely to have a major impact in the coming years, creating previously-unimaginable amounts of location‑referenced information and questioning our very understanding of what constitutes geospatial information. (P11)

Produced with expert insight and thoughts from 30 contributing UN member states and observer states, seven international organisations and 17 international companies and academics, the report compiles a comprehensive collection of trends, developments and recommendations across five key areas:

  1. Trends in technology and the future direction of data creation, maintenance and management
  2. Legal and policy developments
  3. Skills requirements and training mechanisms
  4. The role of the private and non‑governmental sectors
  5. The future role of governments in geospatial data provision and management

In taking a global strategic view of all things geospatial, technological and societal trends that are likely to impact the geospatial sector in the next five to ten years are comprehensively analysed. These trends include cities and the internet of things; artificial intelligence and big data; indoor positioning and mapping; integrating statistical and geospatial information.

The report is the second edition of the international report, following on from its first publication in 2011. The second edition of the report recognises the increasing role that geospatial information will play as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UN-GGIM Secretariat lead Greg Scott commented on the flux of the industry, saying: “There are constant and rapid technological changes within our industry. As a result the new development agenda requires new approaches to data acquisition and integration.

“These improvements to the availability, quality, timeliness and disaggregation of data are needed to support the implementation at all levels,” he said. “This includes the use of a wide range of different data sources including earth observations and geospatial data.”

To access the report, please click here.

It is also available in eight additional languages through UN-GGIM.

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