In this column, Wim van Wegen from 'GIM International' reflects on the huge impact of geomatics on everyday life. Therefore, he calls on industry professionals to become geomatics ambassadors; it is time to join forces and make ourselves heard!
When I first started working for GIM International nine years ago, I was unaware of the true extent of the role of land surveyors and GIS professionals. As an avid map lover I had some knowledge of cartography, I knew about measuring land parcels and I was of course familiar with land surveyors who are a familiar sight on construction and infrastructure project sites. Since then, it has become increasingly apparent to me that geomatics has a much bigger impact on everyday life than I ever imagined.
I have attended countless trade shows and conferences over the years, and I have coordinated the editing process of hundreds of articles submitted by renowned and highly skilled mapping and surveying experts. All this has given me lots of new insights into just how vital geomatics is for many aspects of our lives. Even so, I still find myself struggling to explain to others what our area of expertise encompasses. What exactly is geomatics? What do geospatial professionals do? And how do they contribute to society?
By covering relevant developments in the hugely diverse geospatial industry, we strive to help spread the word. But this message should reach a much wider base – not only because it deserves to, but also because geomatics holds the key to solving many of today’s challenges. Climate change, migration, the food issue, the matter of rising income inequality, land disputes… in fact, I believe it is safe to say that none of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved without geospatial expertise.
Considering the influence of our profession, it is time to join forces and make ourselves heard! This will have the added advantage of increasing the understanding and appreciation of geomatics among a much broader audience. And as a bonus, this will hopefully end my (and everyone else’s!) continuous struggle to communicate the benefits of our work to family, friends, acquaintances and business partners from other industries. I hope you will join me in becoming a geomatics ambassador!