Published on 9.4.2018

It’s all about the basics: greetings from Land & Poverty 2018

This year, we got to participate in the Land and Poverty 2018 conference organized by World Bank in Washington DC 19.-24.03.2018. The conference gathers Land Administration experts from all around the world to tackle the latest research and practice on the diversity of reforms, interventions, and innovations in the land sector during sessions and panels, besides of workshops and posters. From the standing point of geospatial data, we think that the sector seems to need “It’s all about the basics” way of thinking: globally to achieve some important productivity gains, it is important to invest in the very basic knowledge base and tools to work with geospatial data. 

As first-timer at Land & Poverty, especially from the technology standpoint, one was reminded of the huge technological inequalities we have from continent to continent. The shortage of conceptual knowledge and technological know-how seem to be one of the major bottlenecks for the sector to evolve all around the globe.

Although this disparity sticks out in IT sector, today technology can ramp up the productivity issues all around the world. The enhancement of the basic geospatial work processes in the Land administration sector doesn’t require huge investments from the user organizations as it was only a few years ago. The open source geospatial software we got out there, solves just about any use case, there’s in the Land administration sector. Our mission at Gispo is to support this trend with delivering professional training all around the world. We want to make the “Becoming GIS Expert” learning path as easy as it gets: on our remote courses learning results can be equally as good as in a traditional onsite training.


In the image above you can see Klaus Deininger, the leading organizer of this huge conference, declaring in his ending keynote that GIS Training is one of the key implications for the sector and especially for the research.

During the conference, we had the possibility to share our work, passion, and knowledge through a  and a Masterclass-workshop. You can attend the MasterClass free of charge and try some open source geospatial software and do guided exercise on how to make a “pseudo3D” geospatial visualization of buildings (with QGIS), use a spatial database to examine which are the buildings that have a distance minor to 300 meters from riverbanks of the Nile (with PostGIS) and share some map layers with a geospatial server (with GeoServer).

You should also check out our , which talks about E-Learning as a solution for delivering geospatial education and dives into the learning results we have had from Finland with the GispoLearning-users. This  gives a quick view also to the world of open source geospatial software and its pro’s when considering it as a toolset of choice for the land administration geospatial experts.

The biggest payoff from this conference probably comes from the get-together of the experts and colleagues from different parts of the world to advance ongoing and future projects, besides doing benchmarking from other organizations. Land administration sector evolves, and it evolves by people having common needs. The conference gathered almost 2000 persons from public sector (e.g. national mapping agencies), private and civil society without forgetting the World Bank experts

As a geospatial evangelist, one is always eager to hear about the new trends in the geospatial realm and the use cases for the utilization of geospatial data. As to mention some, satellite imagery was definitely a big keyword, besides of blockchain technology increasing its interest in the field. And as a growing trend, open source geospatial software was definitely seen also cross conference discussions as a solution that this sector has taken quite seriously.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that we were lucky to be part of a larger public-private delegation from Finland that traveled to the conference: together with Business Finland, other Finnish companies (SpatineoIceyeEvoltaSimosolNiras FinlandSitowise and Dimenteq), The National Land Survey of Finland and Aalto-University we went to Washingtong to converse and envision on the future of Land Administration sector with colleagues from all around the world.


Santtu Pyykkönen

Santtu Pyykkönen is MSA who is interested in GIS (and all its glory), open source software and open communities and urban development. Freetime activities consist of running and reading.