Mapping Nations: The Next Decade.

Blog / John Kedar / May 2, 2017

Mapping Nations: The Next Decade
Mapping Nations: The Next Decade

During the first week of July, leaders of national geospatial, mapping and cadastral authorities from across the globe will be in Oxford, UK, to discuss some of the greatest challenges the World faces.

The Cambridge Conference will be held between 2-6 July 2017 with the theme ‘Mapping Nations: The Next Decade’.  Aimed at national geospatial leaders these senior government officials will examine some of the biggest global challenges we face - economic, social and technical. They will consider how geospatial, mapping, Earth observation and cadastral agencies can adapt to face these challenges, and how the industry can make a profound contribution to global communities.

The challenges are considerable.  Climate change, insecurity (water to terrorism), population growth and urbanisation, resource shortfalls, the politics of nations v global communities and an increasing pace of technological change are but some examples.  Properly informed, the World can adapt.  The geospatial community will play a major role in overcoming these challenges - going beyond inform to enabling understanding, decision making and action.

When Cambridge Conference delegates first met in 1928, the map was the best way to represent reality.  It still is - the brain is wired to understand this pictorial portrayal of attributed information.  But just as maps have become data, so too have automated extraction techniques and machine learning enabled ‘raw’ data to be interpreted quickly to solve a wide variety of challenges.  This source data is wide-ranging, from smart phones to remote sensing satellites and now with social media, telecoms, multi-spectral, LIDAR and synthetic aperture radar, and much of it in near-real time.

Earth observation is a key contributor to maintained fundamental geospatial data, including identifying land use.  But beyond that, the power of combining Earth observation sources and associated derived data with attributed fundamental geospatial data is a multiplier for good.  Be it disaster response, climate change or sustainable development it is evident that national mapping agencies and the Earth observation community achieve most by working hand in hand.  Take a crop failure scenario;  combining predicted crop failure Earth observation data with fundamental geospatial data such as geocoded addressing and wider location data, such as census data really enables us to understand the impact of the looming disaster, and how to respond.

Delegates at the Cambridge Conference will explore this and more.  The mix of expert speakers and collective experience will help us find new approaches to common challenges such as efficiency savings, the pace of technological change, multiple data sources and customers’ increasing demands for instant, detailed and accurate information and answers.  Many nations represented at the Conference are also members of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

There are conference places still available. For more information and to make a booking visit: www.cambridgeconference.com


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John Kedar

John Kedar


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