Doing more with less
National mapping, charting, and data production (NDP) organizations are being asked to respond to issues and events with timely, relevant GIS data provided through spatial data infrastructures (SDIs).
The value of authoritative geographic data was recognized in 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit (officially called the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro). In addition, geographic information was determined to be a critical component in meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Recently, organizations such as the Group on Earth Observations and the UN Economic and Social Council Statistics Division have emphasized the importance of authoritative data in addressing trans-national issues. The goals of these organizations are similar and can be aggregated into the following areas:
- Economic/societal benefits
- Environmental sustainability
- Security monitoring
Professional geospatial societies are also partnering with NDP organizations to promote authoritative geographic information. For example, the Joint Board of Geospatial Information Societies, a coalition of 10 geospatial professional societies, recently released a booklet titled Geoinformation for Disaster and Risk Management: Examples and Best Practices [PDF] illustrating the importance of geographic information to decision makers.
NDP organizations deliver the base authoritative data, geographic analysis, and Web services required to address national issues guided by their goal: better livelihood through increased economic and social opportunity, better use of resources, and improved security. The results, along with the data, are served to stakeholders through SDIs that are increasingly dynamic and accessible across all platforms including on servers, mobile devices, the Internet, and the cloud. Although NDP organizations have seen significant staff cuts and reduced budgets and have had to do more with less, they continue to demonstrate their strategic value in helping solve national issues, justifying their need for sustainable funding.