Is SDI the spatial voice of democracy?

Is SDI the spatial voice of democracy?

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Preetha Pulusani
Preetha Pulusani
President
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions
[email protected]

Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) can be the spatial voice of democracy, when it is developed according to the common goal of data sharing, based on open standards. However, continued action and perseverance by the geospatial community is an absolute requirement in order to make this a reality

Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) are being developed around the world at different levels. Just to name a few, countries with national SDI efforts include South Africa, Australia, and India. In addition, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas are building SDIs for each world region. Countries and regions are establishing these initiatives to meet the challenges of organizing, managing, and using the abundance of geospatial information now available. One of the most valuable resources of any country is its data, and many factors point to the need for a variety of users to have fast and secure access to that data locally, nationally, or internationally. The need for data sharing is important for day-to-day business processes, but it becomes most crucial during crises such as natural disasters, the spread of disease, and man-made emergencies. Without easy access to information, valuable time and resources are wasted.

SDI: Strategic and significant
Jes Ryttersgaard, Chair of FIG Commission 3, Denmark, said of the need for SDI, “Spatial Data and Information is an indispensable part of the basic infrastructure in the individual country, and experiences from the well-developed countries show that spatial information affects 80 per cent of human decision-making. Spatial Information is a resource on a par with employees, funds etc. Use of spatial information produces a direct or indirect possibility of increased efficiency in all sectors of public administration, in the political decision-making process, as well as in the private sector.” (Spatial Data Infrastructure: Developing Trends and Challenges.) SDIs confirm to a hierarchy, with the lowest level being the corporate level, followed by local, state, national, regional, and global levels.

A country’s SDI is called a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), and Regional Spatial Data Infrastructures (RSDIs) comprise several NSDIs and/or several countries. The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) is the final frontier, and efforts today that begin at a local level will eventually cover the globe.