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

Sustainable economic growth with geospatial insights to reach your nation's potential

Sustainable development will take centre stage this year, as countries attempt to kickstart a post-Covid economic revival that puts the environment first.

In addition to the emerging economies putting sustainability at the heart of their development agenda moving forward, the UK government has signalled its commitment to environmentalism with its ‘build back better’ agenda and the publication of its green industrial revolution plan. Geospatial data is a key enabler for implementing the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To find out how geospatial data can support sustainable development in your country, download Ordnance Survey’s report.

At the G-20 virtual summit in March 2020, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres concluded: “We must work together now to set the stage for a recovery that builds a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable economy, guided by our shared promise — the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Geospatial Information can help countries to reach their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by improving the planning, decision-making, and measurement of a range of programs and services. The UN has created an Integrated Geospatial Information Framework to help countries use Geospatial Information as a way of achieving sustainable social, economic and environmental development. As part of this framework, the UN has outlined nine strategic pathways in three core areas of influence (governance, technology and people), which act as a guide to help governments implement integrated geospatial information systems in a way that will support their SDGs.

Earth image from space
To find out how geospatial data can support sustainable development in your country, download Ordnance Survey’s report.

In the UK, the Geospatial Commission launched a geospatial strategy in 2020, which outlined a vision to create a coherent national location data framework by 2025, mirroring the UN’s. In the UK’s geospatial strategy policy paper, nine areas of opportunity for geospatial data are identified, which strongly mirror the UN’s sustainable development goals. The fourth of these opportunities is the environment: Protecting the world around us. Ordnance Survey has had the opportunity to bolster environmental projects across Britain with its authoritative geospatial products for many years.

One great example is The National Forest. The National Forest Company (NFC) is creating a new, wooded landscape across 200 square miles of central England. OS MasterMap helped to create a detailed map, allowing analysis of various ecosystems and enabling a targeted action plan for future wildlife conservation.

"Ordnance Survey products are an essential part of our day-to-day working,” said Sam Lattaway, Head of Landscape, Biodiversity & Recreation at The National Forest Company. “They underpin the monitoring and reporting of the ongoing creation of The National Forest and they support the innovative research we are undertaking to ensure our future network is targeted to provide the most benefit.”

Internationally, Ordnance Survey works with foreign governments to carry out geospatial maturity assessments and help government agencies get the most out of geospatial data for sustainable development applications. For example, Ordnance Survey worked with Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GLSC), the key agency for surveying and administrating the lands of Guyana. The work involved updating their geodetic infrastructure to support the building of key capabilities for the effective use, maintenance, and expansion of the Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) network that supports GNSS and satellite technologies.

This helped GLSC to maximise the value of efficient location infrastructure and move towards achieving their long-term SDGs. GLSC are now in control of Guyana’s geospatial data infrastructure, helping them with key roles such as decision-making – meaning they can inform the Guyana government.

Find out how geospatially mature your nation is

Discover how a geospatial maturity assessment can benefit your country:
Download our report on seeing your nation's potential, and take a free online 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.