Nearly 300 senior leaders in the field of geospatial information will be arriving in Cambridge this week to discuss the future global direction of digital mapping.
From 21 to 26 July 2013, Cambridge will be the host city of two international events, attracting leading experts from over 100 countries to discuss a variety of major issues, which impact nations, communities and people across the globe.
The first of the two events is the Cambridge Conference, long established as the premier meeting of senior executives from national mapping and cadastral authorities around the world. This will be followed by the Third Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM3), which will be held from 24 to 26 July 2013, at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge City Centre.
Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, Co-Chair of the UN-GGIM and Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey, said: ‘It is a great honour for the UK to be hosting these two international events, and I am pleased that the UN has decided to hold the UN-GGIM committee meeting in the UK. The UN-GGIM is playing an important role in raising the awareness and benefits of geospatial information, as well as promoting best practice on geospatial management. However, before the world sees the full potential of geospatial information, we need the support of all the countries and states across the globe to ensure the basic infrastructure of each nation and state is accurate, reliable and maintained.
‘It is especially pleasing to see the recognition of accurate and maintained geospatial information across the world, with many countries and states using location information to support their economies, aid development and underpin fundamental decision-making. This recognition has resulted in world leaders wanting to use this data to tackle global issues, including sustainability, poverty and economic growth. It is essential that countries and states across the globe establish and implement accurate, reliable and up-to-date geospatial information.’
A recent report (Oxera – January 2013) estimated revenues from global geospatial services as £98 billion to £177 billion per year. There are many examples from around the world that demonstrate the real global benefits that accurate, maintained geospatial information can bring to nations, economies, governments, businesses and individuals. For example; 1 billion hours of travel time and 3.5 billion litres of fuel are saved globally each year due to improved navigation; and in England alone, geospatial information is estimated to help save around 150 lives per year.
High on the agenda, for both events, will be discussions on the major trends and challenges that need to be addressed in the coming years, in order to ensure the benefits of having accurate, maintained and reliable geospatial data – information about the geography of our environment and surroundings – are realised in all nations.
This week will also see the official publication of a report on Future trends in geospatial information management: the five to ten year vision. This visionary report presents the thoughts of leaders in the geospatial world as to the future developments in mapping and surveying over the next decade. The report sets out future technology trends, including the direction of data creation, data maintenance and management, skills requirements, the role of the private and volunteered geographic information sectors and the future role of governments in geospatial data provision and management.
Vanessa Lawrence, as Co-Chair of UN-GGIM, added: ‘I am confident that the report on Future trends in geospatial information management: the five to ten year vision, will help to demonstrate to all countries and all governments that location matters. Geospatial information is an essential building block of a country and that investment in such information is worthwhile and will generate returns beyond this investment.
‘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. These developments offer significant opportunities, but also present challenges, both in terms of policy and in terms of law. Meeting these challenges and ensuring that the potential benefits can be realised by all countries will be important in ensuring that the full value of geospatial information can be maximised in the coming five to ten years.’
The UN-GGIM committee has been established as the official UN consultative mechanism on place, locality and geography. It plays a leading role in setting the agenda for the development of global geospatial information, whilst promoting its use to meet key global challenges. The UN-GGIM is in a unique position to act as a coordinating point to ensure that all Member States and all citizens benefit from the value of geospatial information.
The Cambridge Conference has been held every four years since 1928. In 2013 it will focus on ‘Bringing Geographic Authority to Information’. The conference will take place from 21 to 24 July 2013, in Churchill College, Cambridge, Great Britain. The conference features a number of high-profile keynote speakers, including Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner of Transport for London; Paul Davies, Head of Forecasting at the Met Office; and geographer and BBC presenter Nick Crane. Delegates will also hear first-hand testimony from the heads of mapping authorities about the vital role played by national mapping and cadastral authorities in special events.
The third day of the special week will feature a joint session of the Cambridge Conference and UN-GGIM. This unique day will start with a keynote presentation from Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stuart Peach, who will be discussing the authoritative power of geographic information. This will be followed by a high-profile Ministerial Session, looking at how geographical information systems (GIS) can support economic growth and deliver efficiencies through improved land management, supporting agriculture and the movement of resources.
Further information on the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management can be found at: ggim.un.org.
If you would like further information on the Cambridge Conference, visit: www.cambridgeconference.com