In an article in Elementa–Science of the Anthropocene, Dr Dawn Wright states how “digital tools can help make communities resilient by providing data, evidence-based advice on community decisions”. However, “the resilience of the tools themselves can also be an issue.” For Dr. Wright, “digital resilience means that to the greatest extent possible, data and tools should be freely accessible, interchangeable, operational, of high quality, and up-to-date so that they can help give rise to the resilience of communities or other entities using them.” She cites Pitroda (2013), who predicts that the future of democratic governance lays not only in the pillars of the executive, legislative and judicial, but also in a fourth pillar of information.
In another article, in Ensia, Dr. Wright says that “If we want a resilient world, we need to start with resilient data”, and that “it’s not just data for data’s sake. The same digital technologies we use to understand how the Earth works are also helping communities in very practical ways.” Two of her recommendations in the article are to be open to partnerships and to tell stories.
I couldn’t agree more. Many of these themes are what motivated us to write our GIS and Public Domain Data book and to write in this blog over these past four years. I also salute Dr. Wright’s recommendation that we must share not only our data, but workflows and use cases. In my own field of GIS education, I encounter this situation daily–educators, for example, need not just the data, but need to know how to use that data for teaching, learning, research, and campus administration.
Pitroda, S. 2013. Series Esri E380 Videos, ed. Esri International User Conference Plenary.
The US National Geospatial Advisory Committee recently released The Changing Geospatial Landscape: A Second Look. The report follows the first report from 2009. This committee consists of 28 experts from academia, the private sector and all levels of government: Federal, Tribal, State, regional, and municipal. The committee’s stated goals of the new report are “to contribute its perceptions of incipient technologies that we expect will guide, define or determine the development of this industry in the near and medium term. Of even greater importance, the report highlights those aspects of innovation that bear directly on public policy and on individual privacy and security. The NGAC has also prepared this report to help inform the development of the next iteration of the strategic plan for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).”
In the first section, several near and medium term trends are noted and briefly described, including satellite imagery, including small platforms of which we have written about in this blog, advances in GNSS, UAVs, 4G mobile telephone technology, indoor positioning, platform evolution, cloud storage, crowdsourced data, and communications. Next, social, economic, and policy issues are noted, such as the rural-urban dichotomy in the availability of internet services, workforce development in the geospatial industry, data analytics, standards, privacy and health issues, and data access.
I believe that skimming the report would be useful for anyone wanting to know what the main geospatial issues are of concern to this committee and for the geospatial industry in general, although I admit that after the seven years following the first report, I would have hoped for some clearer recommendations. The report seems rather disorganized, but does point to the one constant in the geospatial industry: Change.