It is that time of the year when reviewing on various aspects of business strategies and performance of employees is the norm in most of the companies. The 2026 Spatial Industry Transformation and Growth Agenda (2026Agenda), released one year back, is no different. To review the agenda a “2017 Report Card” was released at GeoSmart Asia 2018 & Locale 18 conference, on April 9 in Adelaid, Australia. The report card gives a summary of the wins, progress and action required to drive the spatial industry to its high growth future. What makes it all the more interesting is that the report shows that the agenda has made considerable progress during the last one year.
What is 2026Agenda?
The 2026 Spatial Industry Transformation and Growth Agenda is led by SIBA and the CRCSI and entails initiatives encompassing businesses, government, academia and spatial-user organizations, that emerges as a transformational opportunity for the spatial sector to jointly design its best future.
The agenda aims to transform and realise the potential of the local spatial industry and to see it recognised as an underpinning element of the Australian digital economy. It will act as a catalyst to maximize the innovation, productivity and competitiveness of the industry across Australia. The agenda’s action plan is underpinned by 34 transformational initiatives, and will be delivered through a rolling 10-year roadmap.
A rapidly changing technological and operating environment is creating unprecedented global opportunities for the spatial sector to generate additional value. This is especially relevant for the Australian spatial sector, which has a global competitive advantage in this area. However, failing to stay ahead of or keep pace with changes in technology, policy, governance, research and development and global investment in spatial capabilities, puts the sector at risk of missing key growth opportunities. In order to capitalise on the upcoming opportunities, the spatial sector has created a 10-year strategic plan to grow and transform the Australian spatial industry.
Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, The Hon Angus Taylor MP, had staed last year, “The power of location technologies is growing rapidly and they are poised to play a central role in transforming the Australian economy. By leveraging the enormous potential of spatial information, we can accelerate the growth of both traditional and emerging markets and industries.”
The roadmap ahead
Substantial advancements have been made in 12 of the 13 high priority initiatives for the first year of the 2026Agenda. Some of the initiatives that are currently progressing well and are right on track are — develop and publish a nationwide framework and roadmap setting out all major public spatial infrastructure developments and supporting analytical capabilities for the next five years ; develop a strategic framework to coordinate the management of education, training and capacity building (K1-12, TAFE and universities); align the strategies and roadmaps of representative organizations in the spatial sector; prepare and publish a single explanatory statement on the roles of the key peak bodies across the spatial sector and how they complement each other, etc.
However, the area which still remains unattended is preparing and publishing a single explanatory statement on the roles of the key peak bodies across the spatial sector and how they complement each other.
Throwing more light on this, Peter Woodgate, co-Chair of 2026Agenda says, “Everyone involved has dug deep and contributed to significant gains across nearly all the initiatives. Most notably the Public Infrastructure and Analytics, Outreach, and Educational pillars have really been pushed forward. Importantly, while the Action Plan covers 10 years of initiatives, we’ve already begun work on two thirds of the 34 initiatives.”
Importantly, the 2026Agenda has secured longer-term funding and resource commitments from major spatial organisations across Australia in order to better coordinate, communicate and drive change across Australia. These commitments will allow the passive tracking of initiatives to transform to active advocacy — raising the profile of 2026Agenda partners and participants, and moving the industry closer to the future it needs.
Glenn Cockerton, co-Chair 2026Agenda and Managing Director of Spatial Vision says that for private business, the 2026Agenda provides a framework and opportunity to pivot strategy and focus on new customer markets.
“The 2026Agenda allows the private sector to take more risks, explore new ideas and partnerships, and collaborate with government to create new, nation-building spatial infrastructure,” Glenn says. “It also calls for business to become a national exemplar for export opportunities, innovative procurement practices, outreach, industry branding and innovation.”
Further elaborating on the report card, Phil Delaney, Executive Officer of the 2026Agenda says, “This Report Card is intended to show progress, but highlighting that progress does not mean completion. We want the 2026Agenda to inspire a larger, more diverse group of people into action. While we have significant momentum now, we have more work to do to turn this momentum into long-term, sustainable growth for the industry.”
The 2026 Agenda coordinating leadership group currently includes SIBA/GITA, ANZLIC, the Australian Earth Observation Community Coordination Group, CRCSI, ITS Australia, Meat and Livestock Australia, WA Health, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Enzen, Data61 (CSIRO), Landgate, Geoscience Australia, Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Queensland Government), and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Membership of this group is expected to change over time to reflect the evolving nature of the 2026 Agenda. More information here.