Partnerships for spatial data provision
In The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data one of the topics discussed is the increasing role partnerships have to play in the provision of new spatial data. Whether collaborating to work towards a common goal, share resources or help promote and distribute data, many public, private, academic, non-governmental organisations and individuals, have been combining effectively in recent years to collect, collate and disseminate spatial data. Two examples of successful collaboration include OpenStreetMap and Google Earth.
The advent of internet-based spatial data collection and distribution has revolutionised how we access and work with spatial data. It has also altered what we expect from spatial data providers and some have questioned the traditional role of national mapping organisations (NMOs). Bhanu, writing in Geospatial World, commented recently on the proliferation of the personal geospatial data market and the forecast global revenues for spatial data related services (geoservices). In her article, Should governments continue to invest in national mapping organisations?, she considers who will be best placed to deliver these geoservices and wonders if NMOs operating the traditional ‘topographic map’ delivery model are still best placed to meet the demand.
With the increasing availability of a range of spatial data products, end users are no longer constrained to use a single data provider and NMOs must adapt to survive. Whether that adaptation is through partnership with other organisations or privatisation remains to be seen.