Painting the future of global geospatial information management: Gispo at the 5th High Level Forum of the UN-GGIM

Gispo participated at the Fifth High Level Forum of the United Nations initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) in Mexico City 27.-30.11.2017. We as an expert organization on open source geospatial software solutions were interested on how the international community will leverage open source geospatial technology to empower the member states in their journey working on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This time the High Level Forum was attended by persons from 74 countries, mainly by the mapping agencies of different member states, but also by private sector and civil society representatives. Finland was also brought up on few occasions in relation to the merits of National Land Survey of Finland (NLS). NLS was mentioned as the 2017-2019 lead country of Artic SDI and as the organization in charge of the development of Oskari, an open source web mapping framework.

During the Forum we got to listen on sector-wide evolving trends in the Geospatial from different major private sector representatives such as Jack Dangermond (ESRI), Ed Parsons (Google) and Andrew Wild (Planet). Few messages in particular were delivered quite unanimously: the amounts of geospatial data is growing as never before, the ongoing growth of computational power is making possible geospatial analytics at a whole new scale and when it comes to the SDGs and the use of geospatial information, the success of the international community and every member state depends on how well the offices in charge know how to disseminate and analyse this data.

During the conference the forum organizers had guaranteed that there was sufficient time to mingle and share experiences related to the common geospatial challenges. Gispo also got to meet various Mapping and Statistics agencies from different UN member states through their representatives. It was interesting to hear about the geospatial solutions based on open source and/or commercially licenced geospatial software that the mapping agencies in different member states implement.

As we came to the end of the Forum, the participants worked together on the final Declaration of the Mexico City Forum. As one of the key principals throughout the declaration was the necessity for more extensive public-private collaboration schemas to accelerate the gathering and analysis of geospatial information for the SDGs, besides of the shared commitment on working together and supporting, in particular the least developed countries to strengthen the capacity of National Statistical Offices and National Geospatial and Mapping Agencies in their SDG implementation work.