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Stop Thinking Data, Start Thinking Solutions

In the first of a new series spotlighting the increasing importance of the geospatial industry as a key enabler of digital transformation, Getmapping CEO Dave Horner explains why the image of the Geospatial industry is changing rapidly, and how businesses in the sector are starting to embrace the change.

Most businesses today need a geospatial strategy.

Increasingly, CEOs are being challenged to build their digital transformation strategy. How are they going to ensure that their organisations maximise the opportunities that the current technology revolution is presenting?

But for many businesses, there is now another question they should be wrestling with – what is their geospatial strategy?

How are they going to maximise the opportunities and benefits that geospatial data can bring to their organisation? It is a tricky question, not least because many in the geospatial industry itself are only now starting to identify those opportunities for themselves.

I’ve been in the geospatial industry for over twenty-five years, and witnessed first-hand its steady rise in value and importance over that time. But over the least eighteen months, things have suddenly started to change, and change at a rapid pace!

The catalyst for this change has been the rise of the so-called technology revolution – the development of a series of key enablers such as artificial intelligence, 5G, cloud and edge computing, virtual and augmented reality and, of course, the adoption of digital twins. Powerful combinations of these key enablers are starting to change the way we live, work and play. You only have to look back twenty months, to the start of the pandemic, and see the way many businesses were able to embrace a move to working from home – overnight! This would have been difficult, if not impossible, ten years ago.

So the technology revolution is already happening around us, and like its predecessors, it is not an overnight transformation, but a gradual change, step by step, piece by piece. Take the rise of the autonomous car. Whilst we are still some way from full adoption on our roads, much of the technology needed by autonomous vehicles has been gradually appearing in our cars for the last ten years – parking assist and parking detection for example, along with lane departure warnings and collision prevention sensors, to name just a few. Our cars are getting more autonomous already, but we are a still some way from calling them autonomous, yet.

Similarly, a change is happening in the geospatial industry.

10cm aerial oblique image, West End London, 2021

During the early years of the technology revolution, there was much excitement in the industry about the opportunities it would present. ‘Many of these key enablers would have a need for geospatial data to support them’ was a commonly voiced opinion.

But now, we are seeing a different mindset starting to emerge. When I talk to my peers across the industry, read blogs and listen to discussions at round table events, I’m hearing the birth of a much more compelling vision for our industry – that of a key technology enabler in its own right.

Geospatial data and solutions are no longer just a building block, they now sit alongside Artificial Intelligence, 5G and all the other key technology enablers in building solutions to the challenges we face. In particular, they are key to the digitisation of the built environment around us.

The rise of content on demand, real time data, true digital twins of the built environment and platforms that make data accessible to everyone, are just a few of the key geospatial enablers that business leaders are now leveraging to power their organisations forward.

So the savvy business leader needs to know how they can leverage the power of geospatial data as a key enabler of their digital transformation strategies, especially if their businesses interact with the natural or built environments in any way.

In the next blog, we will identify and explain some of the key emerging trends in the geospatial sector that business leaders need to be aware of, and then examine what they need to be thinking about when building their geospatial strategy. In the final part, we will explain how Getmapping’s GSaaS Platform has been built to help business leaders leverage the full power of geospatial data in their organisations.

Dave Horner, Group CEO,


Dave heads up the Getmapping Group and is focused on building sustainable growth through long term strategic partnerships that deliver value to our clients, our partners and our supply chain globally.

He has worked in the geomatics industry for over twenty five years and has a wealth of practical experience, having worked as a technical specialist, before stepping up into various management positions and becoming the Group CEO 10 years ago. He has seen at first hand the huge change of focus in the sector from being a niche industry to becoming recognised as a key enabler across most market sectors.



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