Untapped potential of geospatial data worldwide worth hundreds of billions

5 minute read
Ordnance Survey has published a report detailing the extent geospatial data has benefited the economies, environments, and societies of nations around the world.

The ‘See Your Nation’s Potential’ report estimated that if governments around the world improved the quality of their location data – it could generate hundreds of billions of dollars.

Globally the OS report revealed:

  • Government spending on geospatial information is a high-impact investment in a nation’s long-term economic health, with benefits 3.2 times larger than the costs;
  • Geospatial data drove economic growth of up to 1.2% is some economies around the world;
  • Nations which invest in geospatial data get an average ROI over three times larger than the costs they pay;
  • Fuel savings linked to geospatial data investments were worth $4.9 billion; and
  • Time benefits associated with geospatial data investments were worth about $17.3 billion.

Munir Ismet, OS’s Managing Director of Geospatial Solutions, said: “This report has shone a light on the growing influence and positive impact the geospatial industry is having on nations worldwide.

"It also highlighted how much untapped potential there is for countries around the world.

"Geospatial information helps us to tackle the biggest problems of our time – and capitalise on the greatest opportunities – by making it possible to monitor, measure, predict and adapt effectively."

Munir Ismet, Managing Director of Geospatial Solutions, Ordnance Survey

"Government spending on geospatial information is a high-impact investment in a nation’s long-term economic health, with benefits 3.2 times larger than the costs.

“Better quality geospatial information supports economic growth because it underpins the supply chain in many industries, such as property, telecoms, utilities, insurance, transport and agriculture.

"In addition to economic growth geospatial readiness also benefits communities in ways that are not always easy to quantify.

“Building national digital base maps is a core process in enabling a nation’s digital economy to flourish, but base maps are also a fundamental enabler in providing the most basic of government services, including establishing property ownership, allocating resources and planning infrastructure."

The report states that some economies – such as Canada - have seen growth of up 1.1% after improving their geospatial information capabilities.

As well as boosting GDP, the report claims improved geospatial data can help nations secure long-term food and water security, increase productivity and resource availability, predict and mitigate the effects of climate change, rebuild after disasters, and generate billions in returns from the establishment of secure land rights.

In India, geospatial data helped grow the nation’s credit market by five times in size, from $7 billion to $35 billion.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how geospatial data has become an essential component of disease prediction, prevention, and response.

In the UK, OS data has supported hundreds of organisations in their response to the pandemic, from mapping vulnerable people to helping to locate key vaccination and testing sites to serve the entire population.

Geospatial Readiness Assessment Tool

For 230 years OS has supported nations and governments in many ways from specific projects tacking environment and urbanisation to helping to create national geospatial strategies, data capture, data supply flowlines and complete base maps.

More recently OS has worked with governments in Malta, Kosovo, Norway, Guyana, UAE, Brazil, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Philippines, and Singapore to improve their geospatial infrastructure, enabling them to realise economic, societal and environmental benefits.

Now OS has begun offering a new ‘Geospatial Readiness Assessment Tool’ to help other nations review their geospatial capabilities.

Munir said: “Different nations around the world are at different points in their geospatial journey.

“Investment in geospatial information is an essential component in helping governments to make progress towards all the elements of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in increasing their income and economic health.

"Geospatial information is the cross-sector catalyst that enables nations to reach the next level with some economies seeing growth of up to 1.2% GDP after improving their geospatial Information capabilities.

"As geospatial comes of age, there has never been a better time for countries to seize the opportunity to get an honest appraisal of their capabilities, take advantage of the many funding opportunities available and take the next steps in their journey to geospatial readiness.”

The Dubai Municipality used OS' Geospatial Readiness Assessment tool to help understand how accurate location data can ‘make Dubai the happiest city on Earth'.

The assessment explored how they could use geospatial to deliver significant societal, environment and economic benefits – such as urban planning, environmental protection and security.

Director of GIS Centre, Dubai Municipality, Eng Maryam Obaid Almheiri said: “The GISC and Ordnance Survey share the same vision of thriving to provide high value geospatial services to the stakeholders and community.

“Working with OS, we developed a robust roadmap to target future activities and investments to ensure the GISC meets the requirements of all stakeholders."

See your nation's potential

Geospatial data can deliver sustainable growth and deliver real benefits

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey

Our highly accurate geospatial data and printed maps help individuals, governments and companies to understand the world, both in Britain and overseas.