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Realising the potential of geospatial data: the value of collaboration and trust

Many industries today face myriad challenges in their efforts to modernise and adapt to a rapidly evolving economy. Digitisation is at the heart of these changes, and location intelligence is undeniably a fundamental enabler of the connected and autonomous world we strive to create.

Location intelligence is pivotal to the success of the modern economy - it enables autonomous cars to drive down a motorway, construction managers to track assets in large scale projects, and city officials to tackle pollution and carbon emissions via better monitoring. However, too often the massive potential of it goes largely untapped.


Expanding our understanding of ‘geospatial’

One of the obstacles standing in the way of us fully capitalising on location intelligence to modernise and improve operations is enabling true understanding. When most people talk about location intelligence, they think of maps - static pieces of information where intelligence can be extracted by analysing spatial relationships. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to understand that today’s geospatial technology is much more than just maps.

In this increasingly cyber-physical world, location data should be understood as a tool for connecting the dots between objects, people, systems, and the environment. Location intelligence, by contrast, can be seen as the end product of these connected dots.
An economy that is becoming ever more on-demand will require equally accessible knowledge and a digital infrastructure able to extract actionable intelligence from a vast amount of data, arriving in new forms from an ever-growing number of sensors and IoT devices.

More simply put, we must ensure that our knowledge infrastructure contains data that is trusted, contextualised, available on-demand, and easily understood. So how do we achieve this?


Collaboration is key to building a new tomorrow

Promisingly, some nations have already taken early steps towards fostering collaboration. In the UK, for example, recognising the potential that geospatial data has in shaping the economy, the government has created the Geospatial Commission. The commission’s main aim is to set a roadmap geared towards creating a system where access to high quality geospatial data is much more widespread. Following the Global Open Data Index naming Great Britain the best in Europe and third globally for both data accessibility and usability, commitments to such initiatives will only serve to enhance the UK’s capabilities.

IQGeo is one of the technology companies that has embraced this fundamental challenge – it has developed a mobile-first geospatial solution for telecoms and electric and gas utility operators that gives them the understanding they need to manage their increasingly complex networks. By enhancing network understanding and improving enterprise collaboration, processes are streamlined and data siloes eliminated.

While many providers use complex, legacy GIS software environments that are then transferred to field technicians to attempt to understand, IQGeo has flipped this approach on its head. Data is collected, accessed and analysed by anyone in the field and then shared across the organisation to provide a real-time, accurate view of the network ‘on a single pane of glass’.

It’s my view that the industry needs to shift its mindset from an economic model, based on siloed intellectual property and competition, to a more collaborative economy based on information sharing.

So how can we change the current paradigm based on competition to one that favours collaboration?

Building a culture of trust

In the digital economy and in location, we need to address data quality first by improving standards, protocols, and curation as well as, most importantly, eliminating data silos. Currently, data owners are not incentivised to de-silo data and make it available, because there is an absence of trust that they will be able to easily share the value being created with it.

While there are many technical challenges involved in creating a ‘data fusion’ environment and packaging the data in a way that it is clean, standardised, and curated, this is not just a technology issue. In reality, building trust is crucial to breaking down data silos and delivering new insights and shared value. This can be made possible through cloud-based platforms that enable and encourage collaboration, for example, which give organisations a clear and transparent understanding of the value derived from working together.

Ultimately, without a strong underlying emphasis on collaboration when it comes to using and harnessing geospatial data, many in the industry are limiting the positive impact their projects can have on individuals, organisations, and societies. By focusing on building trust and collaboration while eliminating data siloes and a competitive mindset, we can give ourselves a running start in our mission to create a safer, smarter, and more innovative future.

If you want to find out more, we have recently published our The Power of Place report, co-authored with Ordnance Survey, where industry leaders and emerging thinkers share their thoughts on how geospatial intelligence can shape our world.


About KTN – Connecting for Positive Change

KTN creates the diverse connections that enable positive change. Our knowledge and expertise enable innovators to transform bright ideas into real-world solutions. Our powerful industry and academic connections can guide entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies through the complex challenges of bringing new products, processes and services to market.

KTN's Geospatial Insights Innovation Network exists to connect data holders and data processors with users that can derive value from the insight geospatial data provides. For further information on how Geospatial 2.0 can benefit your business, visit KTN


Thank you to Luca Budello for being a guest contributor to the IQGeo blog. 


Topics: Geospatial software, Utilities, Telecommunications

Luca Budello, Knowledge Transfer Manager – Geospatial Insights at KTN
Luca Budello, Knowledge Transfer Manager – Geospatial Insights at KTN

Luca specialises in creating opportunities for companies to understand the value of geospatial insights, accelerate innovation and breathe life into cross-sector collaborations. Luca’s goal is to help innovators to overcome challenges and realise opportunities, thus growing the geospatial sector to its full potential.

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