In current times, technology has created an ever-increasing demand for the generation and analysis of spatial data. To aid this cause, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), which used to be a focused area of specialization, has moved into the realms of the mainstream. Location has become the most significant factor for deriving new information and enabling well-informed decisions. It is largely instrumental in how the changes in the macro and microeconomic environments, especially in terms of labour, natural resources, labour and capital, are being monitored and managed in today’s world.
Be it in terms of the economy, business environment, or academics, the impact of geospatial services has far-reaching benefits. The potential of growth of geospatial mapping services and other GIS aided solutions in future is finite. From satellite-based mapping to tracking natural catastrophes and improving voter participation in elections, geospatial technology is creating true economic value. Unfortunately, the quantification of these benefits is difficult as most geospatial services go unmeasured because they are free of cost.
In the year 2016, the geospatial services industry generated approximately US$400 billion in terms of revenue. Almost 50 per cent of this revenue can be attributed to businesses dealing in location-based data items and satellites. The other 50 per cent of revenue was courtesy organizations selling geospatial devices, apps and services – consulting and education being the most dominating in the lot.
The total economic contribution of geospatial services is much higher. The economic impact of GIS technology can be felt in the ensuing consumer benefits that are now worth over US$550 billion. In 2016 alone, geospatial services created up to 4 million direct jobs and nearly 8 million indirect ones to impact the well-being of people globally. These services brought about many positive improvements to costs and revenues in various sectors. As per reports, at least 5 per cent of the sectors impacted by geospatial services contributed to over 75 per cent of global GDP in 2016. These figures have only grown since then.
Digital mapping solutions have contributed in a large way to the high demand for GIS technology. They enable policymakers to make well-informed urban planning decisions on the long- and short-term basis. Digital maps are helping governments ensure the safety and security of their citizens. Alongside, with the help of digital mapping solutions, consumers and companies are saving on money and time in the process of managing their everyday affairs.