What is Geospatial Data?

Geospatial Data, also known as geomatics, encompasses several industries and technologies related to the collection, analysis, processing, and distribution of geographic information.

Almost everyone is familiar with GPS, or global positioning systems, which power our online maps and navigation. Another acronym commonly used is GIS, or geographic information systems.

These systems have become essential in many varied industries including retail, healthcare, finance, defense, urban development, food and water security, and risk assessment, among others, and has become one of the fastest growing sectors in technological information.

How is Geospatial Data used?

While the most common use of geospatial data is maps and navigation for transportation, digital maps are taking on additional importance as they become a richer source of information for today’s economy.

One can pinpoint the location of their customers and design targeted marketing, or predict the areas of most dire need for vaccines and ensure their efficient distribution. By predicting weather patterns, local businesses can make sure to have the correct inventory at the correct time of year.

Recent advances in data mining mean that more information is available than ever before. The widespread use of geospatial data has impacted how almost all companies and organizations operate around the globe

Geospatial Data in Logistics and Transportation

Outside the basic use of GPS, geospatial data has become associated with several new applications that provide deeper insight and understanding of local, national, and global landscapes. Business today requires constant effort towards decreasing costs while maintaining the quality of delivered goods and services.

Companies use geospatial data to improve delivery schedules in order to track and expedite shipments. They are also able to increase the efficient inventory of goods by mapping transit routes and warehouse locations. The result is improved customer satisfaction and productivity, with decreased overall cost.

With the use of geospatial data, companies are also able to better target their expansion efforts to effectively grow their business. Information on land use, population density, geography, customer income, traffic patterns, and surrounding business performance can be factored into investment decisions to provide information on things like where to open a new retail location.

Careful analysis of geospatial data is an invaluable resource for the efficient operation and expansion of any business.

Geospatial Data and Risk Management

Geospatial data is also commonly used in the insurance and financial industries to evaluate risk. Have you ever wondered why car insurance is higher in one area than another? Companies take into account both social and geographic factors to evaluate the risk to life and property to determine rates based on your address.

Social factors have an impact on risk. Insuring a vehicle in an area with high crime comes at a greater cost to the insurer than the same car in a safer neighborhood. Companies use crime rates as well as other geospatial data like average local income, traffic patterns, and property values to determine the level of risk at a certain location.

Geographical information also plays a major role in risk assessment. Different locations are more prone to natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and landslides. Companies use geospatial data related to geography as well as historical records to assess the relative risk of one location over another.

Geospatial Data in the Future

The uses of geospatial data are vast and continually expanding. Where, in the past, you would have to send a team “on the ground” to investigate a new investment or business opportunity, careful examination of geospatial data can provide the same, or even more insight.

The development of increasingly sophisticated map systems means that organizations have access to the specific information essential to their operation. Raw data can be visually represented in layers on a map, such as property value or the precise location of certain customers, then integrated in a clear visual representation of the information most pertinent to profitable business decisions.

Companies the world over are already utilizing geospatial data in increasingly diverse ways. The use of geospatial data is likely to continue to expand and have an even greater impact in the future.

Related Resources

  • About Geomatics: Learn about the history and the disciplines that are involved in geomatics, including environmental studies, navigation, forestry, planning, geology, engineering, and geophysics.
  • Geomatics Information Center: Here you will find lecture notes, answers to common geomatics questions, and research about geomatics for professional land surveyors, geomatic engineers, and students entering the field of geology.
  • Geomatics and Land Information Systems: Find information about cutting-edge technology being used, as well as photographs of work being done in the field of geomatics.
  • Engineering Development of Geomatics: Learn about several of the disciplines that consist in geomatics, including geodesy, positioning and navigation, digital imaging, geographical information systems, and land tenure systems.
  • Geomatics Engineering: Definition and information can be found here about several aspects of geomatics and the disciplines used by a geomatics engineer.
  • The Study of Geomatics: Find information on the career areas in geomatics, including geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, surveying and mapping, and global positioning systems (GPS).
  • Civil Engineering and Geosciences: Interested in obtaining a career in geomatics? Learn about geomatics and the qualifications one must possess to start a career in this field.
  • Geomatics and Landscape: The Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory provide a photo gallery and information on surveying, mapping, and research.



Remote Sensing