Data is the key to unlocking the spatial revolution

Geospatial industry CMO Linda Hecht writes about the importance of unlocking Earth's data.


Posted by Linda Hecht
October 15th, 2017

LH blog image - US data

This is a guest post by geospatial industry CMO Linda Hecht, originally published on LinkedIn.

Whenever I work on a project using GIS, by far the greatest limiting factor to success is data. The availability, accuracy, extent, and quality of data become critical. Unfortunately, many people focus on technology. Great algorithms with lousy data give you bad results. While GIS will let you overlay datasets or create maps with results plotted top of each other, the conclusions can be deceiving if the data sources, projections or lineage is unknown. It is especially questionable if the data source is a derivative of unknown source data.

Of course, the answer boldly proclaimed is to get your accurate data from an authoritative source. This source is typically an agency that keeps track of geospatial data and can verify its quality. While this seems obvious, it is hard to do. While many public organizations are required to make information available to the public, it can be in a variety of formats, from paper to digital. GIS professionals often face significant transaction costs in getting data — even open data that is free of charge — into their applications.

Making Spatial Data Publication Easy

While GIS companies are making more advanced spatial analysis algorithms, a company in New Zealand, Koordinates, is thinking about the problem from a data perspective. Their core belief is that "unlocking Earth’s data is the secret to redefining our economic, environmental and social prosperity."

It is amazing in its simplicity. How can we unlock Earth’s data? Make it easily available. With Earth’s data accessible, scientific modeling and simple map-making will enlighten a whole new area of work that has yet to experience the powerful insights from geographic data. It can also open up the power of geospatial data to an enormous range of non-GIS users, including engineers, architects, designers, and developers.

GeoCentric organizations fuel growth

Organizations with assets that are primarily managed at a location are already automating and building applications to manage their work. Koordinates provides the platform to publish and share this invaluable data. Their platform is designed to support all types of users, from GIS, Location Intelligence (LI), Computer Aided Design (CAD) to Business Intelligence (BI). It is designed to easily ingest and share geographic data.

That simple and focus purpose is Koordinates strength. As I have mentioned before, GIS is not a platform, but an easy-to-use, organized database server is. Just like iTunes stores songs, Koordinates stores geographic data.

It can be used for public or private sharing, and organizations get their own branded site, hosted on their own domain. It makes GIS users lives easier because they can offload the management of the infrastructure. And best of all, it reaches users from all backgrounds and industries. It frees your GIS data from the proprietary cloud and makes it available to everyone!

Who Benefits

Any organization or agency with geospatial data can put its data in the Koordinates platform and leverage the platform for better sharing, exporting, application development and coordination. Shared data can be public or private, free or for a fee.

Government agencies are an obvious beneficiary, but other organizations with lots of data also benefit such as utilities, insurance companies, natural resource organizations, oil & gas companies and more. Commercial companies can use the Koordinates platform to find and get data for site analysis, competitive analysis, contingency planning, and more.

Data — the unsung hero

Having the right data can make a world of difference. As geospatial data become more critical to decision making across all industries, it is critical that we have an open platform to share it.

Every time I talk to folks about data, they always have a great story to tell about how lack of data hinder a project they were doing.

What is your story about data?

Image credit: Image derived from geospatial data produced by FEMA, and made available on