27 January 2020

EuroGeographics at Defence Geospatial Intelligence (DGI) 2020

EuroGeographics was delighted to again participate in the prestigious Defence Geospatial Intelligence networking, exhibition and conference event, DGI 2020.

Focusing on the role of civilian mapping agencies in fundamental geospatial data, its panel discussion at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London attracted more than 500 representatives from defence geospatial intelligence agencies.

EuroGeographics Secretary General and Executive Director, Micm Cory was joined in stage by President and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey Ireland, Colin Bray, Director General of the Agency for Efficiency and Supply, Denmark, Kristian Moeller, and Chief of the National Geographic Institute, Belgium, Ingrid Vanden Berghe.

Ingrid Vanden Berghe explained the new paradigm for her agency, which is no longer drawing maps, but brokering digital geodata, explaining how their role as data providers is like that of water suppliers, where end users does not need to worry about the quality or where it was coming from, they just need to know it is good and you pay for what you use.  She also explained the work of her agency within government providing a platform for federal agencies to use geospatial information and use it to make better decisions. 

Colin Bray spoke about the importance of partnership from the Irish perspective, and how OSi is increasing the value of fundamental data through collaboration.  This is recognised by the UN through UNGGIM as essential to support evidence-based decision making, and he provided the example of the work of his agency with the statistics office in Ireland, where both offices are working to their strengths.  He explained how fundamental base data enables a data ecosystem, it is not just about geospatial data, it is about all government data, enabling the whole of government to use geography, with one data model, and one map of Ireland, so that modern fundamental geospatial reference data is an enabler for the integration and analysis of other data. 

Kristian Moeller explained how the Danish Government are driving even more value from data and where his mapping agencies plays a central role.  His agency is much more than a mapping agency, it is an agency for data supply and efficiency, where there is recognition that data is now the world’s most valuable resource, with geospatial being a little bit special here: 80% of all law in Denmark has a geographic component and 40% of value from data is from geospatial data.  The SDFE is the mapping agency AND the public data platform, a value creator and distributor of fundamental data.  High quality data registers with data modelled to standards with appropriate governance enable value to be created beyond one’s own (geospatial) domain.

A lively debate followed, in which the panel responded to questions from the audience, including a discussion on balancing the public interest with the commercial approach adopted by some agencies and the panel sharing their views on open data, and its value to society.  Colin explained this depended largely on your public sector funding model, but use of the data is key, as if the data is not being used then it has no value.  Denmark has led the way in Europe on the approach to open data – and has analysed its economic value, demonstrating how this has doubled with many more end users than was originally imagined.  The Belgian view was that not all data will be open, with the private sector still preferring to pay where quality is important and can be assured. 

The panel discussion was well received, and the organisers hoped that EuroGeographics will be able to participate again next year.