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Geospatial trends accelerated in UN-GGIM vision

5 May 2021

The United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) published its third edition of 'Future trends in geospatial information: the five to ten year vision' during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report highlights the increasing role that geospatial information and technology will play as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The pandemic has accelerated many of the trends highlighted in the report published in September 2020, with the global response to COVID-19 reinforcing the greater need for human and physical geographies working alongside one another in the geospatial sector.

The impact of the last year has also underlined how geospatial infrastructures have become an essential component of disease prediction, prevention, and response.

From analysis of spatial big data to trace people’s movements, to contextualized data, digital maps and technologies to predict behaviour. As well as the visualisations that make data easily accessible and machine learning techniques that use aerial and satellite data to assess how environmental changes may impact infectious disease transmission.

In addition, areas including data interoperability, real-time information and connectivity have gained in momentum, reinforcing how interconnected our world is and improving the global understanding of the interactions between people and places.

David Henderson, Ordnance Survey’s Chief Geospatial Office, said: "During the last year, COVID-19 accelerated the application of many of the trends in the report in ways that could not have previously been imagined – from the temporary halt in on-the-ground data collection which required the rapid identification and use of alternative data sources, to the need to integrate data from multiple sources whist maintaining its provenance and trust. In the post-pandemic future, it is likely that a number of trends will be accelerated to an even higher status of both ‘high impact’ and ‘high predictability’ sooner than expected."

The report aims to establish clarity as the diverse influences on geospatial information management continues to grow. Based on a high-level analysis, the report has identified the top drivers and trends that are likely to affect geospatial information management over the upcoming decade. Recognising that disruption and change in the geospatial community are likely to occur as a result of the linking up of multiple trends, the report explores a diverse set of emerging and developing themes. These include data privacy and ethics, Digital Twins, Artificial Intelligence, data analytics and capacity building.

All countries and all sectors need geospatial information and enabling technologies for making decisions on national policy, strategic priorities and sustainable development. However, many countries still need to bridge the geospatial digital divide.

Thus, the report is strongly aligned to the Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF) and its nine strategic pathways, helping to ensure that the IGIF integrates and takes advantage of the latest innovations and trends identified in the Future Trends report.

Greg Scott, Inter-regional advisor, UN-GGIM at United Nations, said: "The report has already proven to be a valuable resource for many countries in highlighting the importance of geospatial information, and reflecting a wide set of emerging and developing trends that could be harnessed by all Member States to increase the use of geospatial information for societal, technological and economic welfare.

"Recognising that continual disruption and change in the geospatial community are likely to occur as a result of the linking of multiple trends, the report explores a diverse set of emerging and developing trends."

 Here is the ‘Future trends in geospatial information: the five to ten year vision'.

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
Press Office

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