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Geospatial at the heart of achieving Sustainable Development Goals

The International development sector is fast realizing the value and utility of geospatial information for achieving the Global Development Goals. Thanks to the document Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that includes guidelines for appropriate use of geospatial and Earth observation data for measuring, monitoring, reporting and achieving the SDGs, the momentum towards free, open access to geospatial data, building resilient geospatial infrastructure, making informed decisions based on geospatial data and integration of geospatial with statistical information is rapidly gaining ground.

Long way to go

However, we still have a long way to go before geospatial technologies are used to their potential. Even when data and services are made available for development goals, their optimal use may not necessarily be that easy for the non-profit sector and the road to geospatial adoption could be fraught with several challenges. For one, to benefit from such systems, NGOs and INGOs need to adopt a geospatial strategy, which needs to be in synergy with their digital strategy. Further, they need to invest in fit-for-purpose infrastructure, train human resource, adopt standards, build partnerships and collaborations and have an innovative approach to address these issues.

True potential of geospatial technology lies in it being used as an integrator platform that can assimilate datasets from various sources to provide predictive and prescriptive analytics for informed decision making that can save lives, resources and create a better world.

For now, use of geospatial technologies has proven to be effective for achieving development milestones. Governments and the non-profit sector have been able to plan and implement programs in an informed manner because of the visualization and analytics offered by geospatial and Earth observation technologies. A variety of datasets are generated and being made available for free or at price points that make sense to the non-profit sector, there’s been an increase in the use of innovative tools and technologies to solve some real-life challenges on ground from health care access, to providing resources to farmers, to monitoring climate and how it impacts life on Earth. When combined with other technologies, like drones and AI, geospatial technology gets further enhanced in its effectiveness. Geospatial technologies are also being utilized for creating innovative reporting platforms by the UN and member states.

Ready and adept

With the intention to enable the movement of the development sector into becoming geospatially ready and adept, and to ensure optimal utilization of geospatial information for achieving the SDGs, Geospatial Media has been organizing the Geo4SDGs series of seminars at Geospatial World Forum (GWF), which provides space for interactions, deliberations and learning for both the geospatial as well as the development communities and builds stronger synergies between these two sectors.

The next edition of Geo4SDGs at GWF is scheduled for 7-9 April 2020 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. If you are a professional working in the development sector interested to explore how geospatial information can benefit your work, or have already started using this tool and want to expand your relations with the geospatial community or if you are a geospatial enthusiast who wants to make a difference to the world through your work, and help the global community achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, join us at GWF 2020. With the theme ‘Transforming Economies in 5G Era – The Geospatial Way’, the 12th edition of the conference will continue to initiate thought-provoking discussions and advocate for technology innovation and good practices in the geospatial industry.

Other than Geo4SDGs, the conference shall highlight the value of geospatial technology in digital economy and its integration with emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, Autonomous Vehicles, Big Data, Blockchain, Cloud, IoT and LiDAR in various user industries, including digital cities, construction & engineering, defense & security, telecommunications, and business intelligence.

To know more please visit www.geospatialworldforum.org