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Andy Wilson
Region Director, Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Americas, Ordnance Survey

How geospatial innovation can boost your GDP and grow a stronger economy

With many nations facing economic recession due to reduced activity during lockdowns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world will be looking for ways to kickstart economic growth by facilitating digital innovation.

Developing and expanding your country’s use of geospatial data offers an opportunity to invest in your county’s future by laying a solid geospatial foundation.

To find out how geospatial data can grow your nation’s economy, download our latest report on seeing your nation's potential.

Establishing a digital basemap can increase economic growth

A geospatial maturity assessment can provide an investment roadmap that governments can use to grow their economies. For example, establishing a digital basemap can help secure property ownership and land rights, which are vital for core functions of the state and economy. Families are more economically active and have fewer children when they have land rights. When ownership of land and proper addressing can be established, the state can collect tax and individuals can apply for mortgages and loans.

Aerial view of man on phone in flooded field

According to the World Bank, only 30 percent of the world’s population has legally registered rights to their property and homes meaning huge portions of the global population don’t have proper land rights, locking them out of employment and making it difficult to borrow money and start businesses.

In the UK, the value of geospatial data and its power to unlock economic growth has been recognised by the creation of the Geospatial Commission, of which Ordnance Survey is a partner body. One of the Commission’s first projects was to provide a £130 million per year boost to the UK economy by expanding access to Ordnance Survey’s Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA). This allows start-ups and other commercial businesses to access Ordnance Survey’s core geospatial product, MasterMap, providing the private sector with the same access to a world-class geospatial product enjoyed by public sector agencies free at the point of use.

The Geospatial Commission believes that geospatial data could unlock £11 billion worth of economic growth in the private sector per year in total. The UK now has in place a geospatial strategy that sets out priorities and a roadmap to 2025.

Using geospatial data in the extraction industry

Ordnance Survey works with other countries and their mapping agencies to drive economic growth internationally too. As part of this, we offer the commercial service of carrying out a geospatial maturity assessment for national governments. This gives them a clear picture of how sophisticated their geospatial ecosystem is currently, and what they need to do to achieve their goals. In Ethiopia, Ordnance Survey led an interactive workshop for delegates from a number of African ministries to explain how the effective use of accurate geospatial information could benefit the mining industry.

Land in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a country looking to expand and maximise its land use with potential to tap further into its extraction industry to support economic growth. Ordnance Survey experience and expertise helped to illustrate how a national location strategy – in the context of the extractive market – could benefit the nation. With a population set to double within 25 years, the need to use land effectively in Ethiopia has never been stronger. The project raised awareness of how accurate information about land boundaries and ownership and effective governance could attract overseas investment for the benefit of local people.

Find out how you can increase economic growth

Discover how how geospatial data can boost your economic growth:
Download our report on growing your economy, and take a free online geospatial maturity assessment.

Andy Wilson
By Andy Wilson
Region Director, Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Americas, Ordnance Survey

Andy has over 30 years experience in the geographic information industry and is a member of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.