Watch out for those doom and gloom types – they are 180 degrees to
where the geospatial world is heading. Stay away from them. Avoid them.
Cast them away on large drifting icebergs and turn your attention to
the real opportunities ahead. Negativity breeds its own destiny.
The geospatial industry today exists at a very important time in
history. While markets and financials are taking a clobbering, the
winds of change and the race to find a path through the turmoil is
raising awareness about new possibilities and opportunities. Many
people in the geospatial industry can identify that the current
situation largely revolved around financial markets. not because of
geosptial inadequacy, poor geotechnology, or lack of knowledge in the
Each day I wake up and begin a process of putting together news,
notes, and articles for our publications V1 Magazine and V1 Energy.
What I see in all the information I am covering, simply through
repetitive patterns in it’s occurence is that a huge energy revolution
is underway. It is global in scope.
On any given day millions of Euro of projects from exploration
through to planning, development and research, all focused on both
renewable and non-renewable resources, is progressing around the world.
The U.S. has a huge quiet revolution of ‘greenish energy’ industry
development going on that simply is not being accurately reported, in
my opinion. Furthermore, the amount of energy efficiency technologies,
including geospatial, that support energy use has a considerable
Try looking into the amount of hydrogen fuel cell research going on
to begin with – it is significant. But aside from that, wind,
geothermal, wave-tidal and gasification are all being developed around
the world. Do you realise land management (or water) is involved in
each of these? How is that for a geospatial connection?
But there is more to these opportunities. Most of us are aware of
the amount of infrastructure related work that is about to happen with
recent stimulus bills. In the news it has been announced: Africa will
build a pipeline for $654 million, the Province of Ontario with $32
Billion in infrastructure spending, a new German-Danish bridge, 100 new high-speed
Siemens trains in China, Bentley Systems announcing a whole new Green
Building architecture initiaitive, 400,000 ESRI Alliant Energy
customers based on GIS, Autodesk designating Vancouver a new world
Digital City, Leica is delivering web-based monitoring visualisations,
Trimble providing geological information in Asia across a GPS network
and Intermap a 3D terrain model of the U.S.
DEFRA in the UK is surely making the case for geospatial data and
technology to deal with flooding in that country and New Zealand has
similar issues. Russia is working on developing navigation routes
between western Europe and East Russia through the Arctic, forest fires
are devouring Australia in a dangerous way requiring more land
management. 1Spatial is working toward expanded SDI in time to meet
INSPIRE challenges, the GMES program in Europe is entering operational
phase with more services about to arrive.
Major trends in energy production, use and distribution are under
way.The U.S. fish and wildlife community is spending $146 million, and
more whales, salmon, grizzly bears and oil tankers are being tracked
than ever before. At the same time more robots are set to map cities
and roads than we might be aware of – look out all you OSM mappers!
Meanwhile the EU is improving services and efficiency in the air flight
infrastructure in a major way.
These are only a few of the pieces of news flshing across my desk,
there are many more. It is important to keep a global eye at the moment
because different people and countries are grappling with legislation
differently, providing investment in different ways and creating
opportunities ‘exporters’ can look toward. If you focus too locally
then you will miss the possibilities.
There is little doubt that the geospatial industry has a leadership role to play in the future. Signs are everywhere.
We need to talk more and communicate more about what our goods and
services will do and where they can be used. If we make the case that
positive changes can result, then we can support the greater need for
transparency, accountability and regulation that future business is
likely to demand, across all sectors. This is more than ROI in a
monetary way alone. It involves discussion of our contribution to the
processes of investment, quality of life and efficiency.
And – we need to be wary of the doom and gloomers.
We have a much brighter future if we act on it – communicate it.
Note: This column alternates weekly between Vector1 Media editors. Jeff Thurston is editor of V1 Magazine and V1 Energy for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia.