Two countries, Australia and New Zealand, have commissioned studies to estimate the contribution of geospatial data and technology to the national economy. Canada has just announced the award of a similar project to a team that includes ACIL Tasman, who conducted the Australian and New Zealand studies.
In 2008 a report The Value of Spatial Information, The impact of modern spatial information technologies on the Australian economy was prepared for the CRC for Spatial Information & ANZLIC – the Spatial Information Council by ACIL Tasman.
The report found that in 2006/2007 the spatial information sector contributed between $6.4 billion and $12.6 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP), which represents between 0.6% and 1.2% of the GDP.
Secondly, it found that restrictions on access to spatial data reduced productivity in some economic sectors by between 5% and 15% which could have reduced the GDP by about 7% in 2006-2007.
Thirdly, it projected that with the right policies the contribution of the spatial information sector to the national economy in the medium term had the potential to be up to 50% higher than in 2006-2007. In other words, instead of a contribution of about 1%, the spatial information sector could have contributed 1.5% of GDP.
In August 2011 a study was released by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ministry for Economic Development (MED) that estimated the contribution spatial information makes to the New Zealand economy.
According to the report the use of spatial information added at least $1.2 billion, about 0.6% of GDP, to the economy last year through productivity gains, but the report indicates that wider and better use of spatial information could lead to even greater productivity and add another $481 million to the economy.
Natural Resources Canada’s Mapping Information Branch in collaboration with the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing and the Surveyor General Branch, has announced the award of a contract to Hickling Arthurs Low Corporation and partners ACIL Tasman, Fujitsu Canada and ConsultingWhere, to conduct the Canadian study.
The primary focus for the study is to understand the current situation and emerging trends in Canadian geospatial activities and their overall direct and indirect economic value and contribution to the Canadian economy. There are two components to the project. The first is a geomatics environmental scan to examine the current geospatial information market in Canada and profile the Canadian geomatics sector. The second is a economic value study that will determine the value of open geospatial information within the Canadian economy and its contribution to competitiveness and innovation in Canada, evaluate geospatial information as a ‘public good’ in the Canadian context, and make recommendations on the future strategic direction for geospatial information in Canada with an emphasis on the roles that can be played by the government, industry and academia.
The study will be managed by the GeoConnections Program of NRCan’s Mapping Information Branch and is scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2014.