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Dutch geospatial sector joins forces around corona crisis

In a joint statement, Dutch trade and business association GeoBusiness Netherlands and professional body Geo-Information Netherlands (GIN) address both local and national governments concerning COVID-19.

Dutch geospatial business sector joins forces around corona crisis
Members of GeoBusiness Nederland and GIN visit the House of Representatives, The Hague. Photo taken in 2019.

Ed Nijpels, chairman of GeoBusiness Netherlands, and Ron Rozema, chairman of GIN, sent out an open letter to stakeholders in Dutch local and national government. In it, the solitary nature of geospatial tasks comes to the fore. Also, the letter states that the vital information needed to better understand the spread of the corona virus (COVID-19) is tightly connected to accurate, trusty and complete location data.

Well-arranged to work remotely

In the Netherlands, a large package of aid measures has been drawn up for businesses large and small. This is a great safety net for entrepreneurs to fall back on. However, geospatial professionals see opportunities to keep the work in their sector going. Without the need for immediate recourse to this package of aid measures, that is. In the letter, we read: “Our industry is well-arranged to work remotely for the processing and analysis of data and the development of geo-ICT tooling. By nature, we expressly contribute to the call to avoid as many contacts as possible. This we can surely do, because data collection is largely performed by individuals, not groups of people. In addition, the vast majority of geospatial tasks, such as analysis data science and engineering, is executed digitally.”

Read more: Initiatives by geospatial companies to curb coronavirus

Carry forward

Of course, location-based information in this corona crisis, is crucial for governments nd citizens alike. “We can and should work on this together”, the letter expresses. While clients in both the public and private sector do their utmost to complete and/ or continue ongoing work, hiccups do appear. For instance, there’s the initial response where existing activities get canceled and new projects are postponed or even stopped. When addressing this, the open letter exclaims: “This is not necessary! That’s why we call upon all our clients, so that we will be able to carry forward. We also call on the authorities to temporarily refrain from lengthy procurement procedures. Instead, they should be a bit more flexible and creative”.

Straight to the point

The Dutch geospatial sector is well-aware of the risks and dangers of COVID-19. “In the first place, we are concerned about the well-being of our employees, colleagues and clients and their neighbors”. In typical Dutch fashion, the letter goes straight to the point: “From a business perspective, we strive for the continuity of activities and projects in the geospatial sector.”