Keeping pace with the advancing digital ecosystem, it is necessary for national geospatial agencies to reorient themselves to promote the democratization of geographic data, defining standards, endorsing active industry participation and playing an advisory role in the formulation of policy imperatives for economic development.
As Major General Girish Kumar, Surveyor General Survey of India said during the Geo Buiz Summit, the pre-conference to the Geospatial World Forum 2018, held on January 15, “Everything is now becoming location based. Data requirements are going up, and this makes it necessary for national geospatial agencies to bring changes within.”
Nigel Clifford, CEO, Ordnance Survey, UK says, “There is a move from static/historic data to data that is dynamic; a shift from single source of data; a change in the economics of supply and distribution model.” These comments reinforce the need for transformation within the national geospatial agencies (NMA).
Reliability is of utmost importance
NMAs need to ensure the reliability of data. The data produced by them must be considered authentic and as good as a legal document.
As Dorine Burmanje, Chair of the Executive Board, Dutch Kadastre, The Netherlands says, “Since fake news is no exception anymore, the need for reliable information and data is inevitable.”
Kumar’s words, “We have to make sure that whatever we produce is reliable and we need to continuously update. Rather than competing with the industry for data acquisition we should act as a facilitator and pass on our knowledge to the industry; ensure standards are followed so that datasets among two companies can interact with each other,” brings in new enthusiasm in the group.
A major change that every national mapping agency present on the panel agreed upon is fostering increased collaboration between the public and private sectors.
However, how to bring in the collaboration remains a challenge with the agencies. In such a scenario, Burmanje’s thoughts brought an interesting insight. She said, “We share the policy plans to the private sector well in advance so that the private industry can take steps for advancement. This helps them to make their plans for advancement. Finding each other at different levels enables us to deliver quality to the society.”
Add to that the success achieved in terms of public good through public-private collaboration by USGS, as shared by Dr. Virginia Burkett, Chief Scientist, Geological Survey, USGS and need we do not say more.
“Disruption is the only reality,” Karthik Ramamurthy, Regional Director – Middle East, Africa and India, IPSOS Consulting, UAE believes, and the National Mapping Agencies definitely need to reorient themselves to meet the changing requirements.