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UN: Future trends in geospatial information management

A new document from the UN describes a 5- to 10-year vision in geospatial information management.  Published by the UK Ordnance Survey at the request of the Secretariat for the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management, the lead authors are John Carpenter and Jevon Snell from the Ordnance Survey. The document was  commissioned in October 2011 and the first edition was just recently published.

UN:  Future trends in geospatial information management

UN: Future trends in geospatial information management document.

The document is worth examining for all those who are in the field of geospatial technology.  The language of the document is thankfully clear and concise, and quite thoughtful, something often lacking in documents such as this.  I especially like sentences such as these, “A number of important technology‑driven trends are likely to have a major impact in the coming years, creating previously-unimaginable amounts of location‑referenced information and questioning our very understanding of what constitutes geospatial information.

The authors have done an excellent job in recognizing the diversity of government, nonprofit, and private sector needs regarding geospatial information.  The authors also strike a nice tone by encouraging partnerships and progress so that everyday decisions can be enhanced with a greater volume and a better quality of data as we move forward.  Yet, they are realists and realize that this won’t happen overnight. Throughout, the bulleted paragraphs make the entire document accessible and easy to read and understand.

Chapters include key trends (cloud computing, open source, open standards), legal and policy (privacy, liability, funding), skill important in the future (education, extracting value, working with data), the role of private and non-governmental sectors, and the future role of governments.  Many of these topics are those that are core to the themes of the GIS Guide to Public Domain Data book, and thus the Public Domain Data book provides a good introduction to and background for the UN document for use on the job or in instruction.

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