POSITION TO PRECISION: Global directions of the Geospatial Industry

POSITION TO PRECISION: Global directions of the Geospatial Industry


Isn’t it always tempting to think we are doing well, so why change?  But the truth is that change is inevitable and innovation is the only way out. The danger is to be complacent and satisfied with maintaining old ways just because they have worked well in the past.

A decade ago, geospatial as a domain was still evolving and everyone felt that it is only GIS that can be used as a decision making tool. This is what was being taught in colleges and universities too. Recent technological advancements have changed this state of affairs. Today, Geospatial technologies have changed the way people, organisations and governments interact with the world, making them more efficient and enabling cost savings.

Geospatial technology today uses modern software and hardware to store, access, visualise, map, analyse, and disseminate geographic data. And it is permeating into all kinds of processes. The most important benefit that Geospatial technologies offer today is efficiency. This is followed by precision, monitoring, analytics and productivity. In the coming times, the value from increase in productivity will become much higher as is with all technologies.  At some point in time, Geospatial industry applications used to be all about positioning! But today the budge is clearly from Position to Precision!

Geospatial Applications: Moving from Position to Precision


The interesting thing here is that that these two things, Position & Precision are not detached. In fact the line separating them is not even vivid.

Position is “location” and positional accuracy may be defined as the closeness to “true” location! Accuracy in location is the degree to which information on a map matches real-world values. It is an issue that pertains both to the quality of the data collected and the number of errors contained in a dataset or a map. One everyday example of this sort of error would be if an online advertisement showed a shirt of a certain colour and pattern, yet when you received it, the colour was slightly off.

What is precision? Precision means exactness. Precision refers to the level of measurement and exactness of description. Map precision is similar to decimal precision. Precise location data may measure position to a fraction of a unit (meters, feet, inches, etc.). Precision attribute information may specify the characteristics of features in great detail. As an example of precision, say you try on two pairs of shoes of that are the same size but are different colours. One pair fits as you would expect, but the other pair is too short. Do you suspect a quality issue with the shoes or do you buy the shoes that fit? Would you do the same when using geospatial information?

Geospatial technology applications today are not limited to archetypal sectors like defense, environmental management, disaster management, water resources etc.  It is being applied to varied areas from manufacturing, engineering, seismology, land administration, mining etc. Most of these need an accuracy of less than a meter. As seen in the figure below, depending on the applications, the call for high positional accuracy comes and this demands for elevated ranges of precision.

The burgeoning adoption of location analytics, the ubiquity of everyday geo-enabled mobile applications, the decreasing cost and increasing accuracy of the technology have ensured that geospatial becomes a core enabling technology for even those who find it hard to define it. And the industry’s move from position to precision is the direction for the future!

Does this make you curious to know about the directions and dimensions of this very fascinating geospatial industry? Get answers to your queries, grab a complimentary copy of “GLOBAL GEOSPATIAL INDUSTRY OUTLOOK”.