6 steps to a Spatially Enabled Society

Colleagues from FIG (the international federation of surveyors) have boiled down the requirements for a spatially enabled society (that’s one where location is added to existing data to increase its value to society) to 6 handy and simple to achieve elements.  The added value can be considered to stem from the ease of integration of information held on land, water and other resources.  Such integration makes it simpler to manage a cities, countries or regions resources more effectively.

And here they are;-

1. a legal framework to provide the institutional structure for data sharing, discovery, and access;

2. a sound data integration concept to ensure multi-sourced data integration and interoperability;

3. a positioning infrastructure to enable and benefit from precise positioning possibilities;

4. a spatial data infrastructure to facilitate data sharing, to reduce duplication and to link data producers, providers and value adders to data users based on a common goal of data sharing;

5.land ownership information, as the dominant issue in the interactions between government, businesses and citizens relating to land and water resources;


6.data and information to respect certain basic principles and to increase the availability and interoperability of free to re-use spatial data from different actors and sectors.

Well, it’s hard to disagree with all of these, but once you read the full report you realise that the spatial data infrastructure is not just one item, but is the tool to achieve at least elements 2,3,5 and 6.  For an indepth experience on setting up such an infrastructure see our work on ESDIN.

The European Autumn

This year it’s fashionable to associate exciting changes with a season.  With holidays over and a rapid move into Autumn it looks as if the Arab Spring will be competing with a European Autumn for headlines whilst the chances of an Indian Summer fade from hope.

In the EuroGeo world I enjoyed the summerINSPIRE and ICA conferences.  These were great opportunities to show off how the mapping and cadastral agencies of Europe can technically work together, advancing plans and proving technologies for a European Spatial data Infrastructure and supporting the PSI directive.

The Autumn tends to be where the political work happens.

Reading the Times this morning the word from our ministers in the UK is that they want further distance from Brussels.  In the UK the belief in the European monetary union is at rock-bottom.  “You can’t have monetary union without political Union” Chancelor Kohl once said.  A call from the past to really form a meaningful bond before deploying the tactics of your union.

Perhaps Helmut’s thinking can apply with the benefit of hindsight in the coming together of official geo data from the member states.  EuroGeographics projects prove the technical feasibility of harmonising this data in an increasingly automated way.  The challenge will be implementing this in a way that all the mapping and cadastral agencise and all their different internal policies can adopt.

The challenge is far from impossible, in fact it’s highly feasible (implementation on many fronts has already begun, see previous link) , and with some of the up-font will, cooperation and infrastructure (political and physical) in place I believe we can succeed.

So, the GeoAutumn marks a move to maturity in working relationship between mapping and cadastral agencies together.  I certainly cannot see the Autumn as a period of  decline in that regard.  More it is a time we can harvest from the work so far and build the working relationships we need to open up this vital resource for all.