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Innovation to Impact: What is the way forward?

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Geospatial World Forum (GWF) 2021 has come to a close and looking back, it was an exciting 3-day event. The happy faces of participants and speakers from academia, industry, governments, and end-users witnessed a successful first in-person conference in two years.

With the theme of ‘Geospatial Infrastructure and Digital Twin: Empowering the Circular Economy, the conference had interactions around AEC and Digital Cities, Location and Business Intelligence, Sustainable Development Goals and Circular Economy, Defense and Internal Security, Space Infrastructure and Geospatial Value Chain, Disaster Management, Telecommunications, Artificial Intelligence, and Automation, Autonomous Vehicles, and Digital Twin.

A closing panel moderated by Sanjay Kumar, CEO, Geospatial World, discussed the way forward for the stakeholders of the geospatial ecosystem. In his address, Kumar said that the theme of GWF 2021 talks about innovation to impact. “Geospatial Infrastructure and Digital Twin together enhance the value proposition of our work and contributions in the form of applications and solutions. Thus increasing productivity, compliance, efficiency, and transparency are pillars of the circular economy.”

What is the way forward? Here’s what the panelist said:

Frank Tierolff, CEO, Kadaster, The Netherlands

We have transformed from handwork processes to an automated process, to data processes and data knowledge, and further, we have to transform up in the value chain. Even with the new technologies like AI/ML coming up, we have to improve the governance in cheques and balances to give better services to citizens.

Brig. Ali Al Shehhi, Former Director, Space Reconnaissance Centre, Board Member, Federal GIS Center, UAE

There is a large amount of data coming from different sources; we need to fully utilize that data and search for newer application areas. Second, the collaboration between academia, industry, and the government has to increase – new entrants from R&D/academia or startups should be encouraged.

Cristina Savian Founder BE-WISE

From a technology point of view, the future is that we advance a lot, but we have to look at the business aspect as well. Digital Twin is a powerful tool, but it has to give a tangible value.

Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist, Google

We have to deal with issues around privacy and ethics and responsible use of data that has been created. We have to play an active role in developing policies while dealing with technological problems. The geospatial industry needs to get out of its comfort zone and explore new technology application areas.

Barbara Ryan, Executive Director, World Geospatial Industry Council, USA

There are three pillars: technology, people partnerships, and policy pillar. Digital Twin being part of technology is bringing transition, and in the future, I hope it gets an integrated earth system. The second pillar’s people-partnerships take time, but it has to be constantly worked upon. Lastly, the policy pillar also needs continuous push-up.

Greg Scott, Inter-Regional Advisor Global Geospatial Information Management, United Nations

Accountability and Responsibility are the key cornerstones to address innovation to impact. Alternatively, it’s important to address and identify what we do and why we do it.