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Nation-wide Economic and Social benefits of applied Geospatial Technologies

Geospatial initiatives and Goal Plans of U.S.A. and Canadian Govt. (1)

Geospatial industry plays an important role in providing value-added data and has helped various nations in enhancing their matter expertise along with better resource management capabilities across various verticals. Many nations have accepted geospatial technologies in their interdepartmental processes and have also included geospatial initiatives as part of their future agendas to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as defined by the United Nations. The intent of these initiatives is to focus on sustainable economic growth of the nation; while raising social prosperity and neutralizing any natural disaster effects that may hamper their economic progress.

However, real question is how to measure economic and social benefits of the geospatial industry?

There had been several studies that have proved that geospatial industry has positive economic impact based on direct and in-direct monetary benefits. It is essential to measure the magnitude of economic and social gains to have better understanding of the geospatial industry and to know where the implementation of geospatial technology is most effective. At a broader level geospatial industry not only contributes towards Gross Domestic Production (GDP) of a country but also benefits environment and society living within it.

Flow of Geospatial Benefits

In these past studies estimation methods for nation’s economic and social benefits due to geospatial industry had varied from return-on investment to cost-benefit analysis; using Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling and so we have relied on macro/ mcro-economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Production (GDP) as one of the major estimation factor. However, factors such as environment and social benefits had not yet been evaluated and are expected to play greater role in describing actual geospatial benefits gained by the country.

By what magnitude has the geospatial industry contributed towards major economies?

Geospatial industry has evolved over the past one decade, majorly due to amalgamation of various driving technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), IOT and Cloud. The developed nations were first to observe these trends and have gained monetary benefits from the untapped resource pool.

US: “US geospatial industry generated approximately $73 billion in annual revenue and comprises at least 500,000 high-wage jobs. [..] Geospatial services driving $1.6 trillion in revenue and $1.4 trillion in cost savings.” (2)

Canada: “Canada is estimated to have added approximately $20.7 billion (or 1.1%) to Canadian real GDP, and $19.0 billion to Canadian real income in 2013.” (3)

In between, undeveloped nations have also realised the potential of geospatial industry and are taking broader steps towards utilizing potential of geospatial data. Some of the major studies that have estimated economic benefits due to use of geospatial technologies are highlighted and mapped in the world map.

Geospatial Technology Bringing Benefits to the Economy & Society

To conclude, we can say that geospatial data has good contribution in elevating global economies by providing essential view to develop efficient operational procedures. It is expected that geospatial data shall be part of future national goals of many nations and these countries must build market-oriented policies that can realize optimum benefit from the opportunities within geospatial industry. It is also realized that intangible factors will play important role in measuring a country’s overall gain due to its geospatial ready infrastructure in the near future.

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(1) U.S. Department of State & Government of Canada

(2) Recommendations for the 2017 Transition

(3) Natural Resources Canada