Why SDI?

eSDI-Net+ is a network that aims to bring together key European SDI stakeholders in order to share relevant knowledge in this area. One could ask if this knowledge sharing is relevant for Europe’s development or more specifically for European citizens. Why do we need SDIs?

The world around us is ever-changing at an incredible pace. Along with the rapid expansion of the European Union new problems like overpopulation, environmental pollution, traffic congestion, security risks, depletion of natural resources, and many other arise. In order to handle these challenges Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are highly useful devices by providing the necessary information for the appropriate decision-making. Since the range and diversity of GIS applications is tremendous the full potential of this positive impact of GIS can only be realised if the necessary spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) are implemented at the respective local, national, and transnational levels.

GIS have changed the way spatial information is handled, and they represent a multibillion euro industry. Nevertheless, this technology will only reach it’s full potential when governments decide to maximise access to geographic information through SDIs.

One of the biggest problems in studies that try to analyse the added value of improvements in knowledge systems is that they often fail to realise the nature of knowledge, viewing it as a traditional asset, a tangible and measurable one. Certainly this is not true and it will lead to dead end solutions. How do we calculate then the value of knowledge assets, how do we attribute a value for an SDI?

A good answer to this is not attributing values for SDIs, but to identify specific target areas that are and will be affected by efficient SDIs:

  • Land ownership administration
  • Natural resource management – forestry, agriculture, mining, energy, maritime
  • Emergency services response – fire, ambulance, police
  • Business planning
  • Environmental assessment
  • Navigation – maritime, air and ground
  • Disaster Management

In order to maximize the benefits of SDIs across Europe, a knowledge sharing is imperative, more, it is crucial to have a platform where best practices can be exchanged and assimilated by all involved. That is the relevance of eSDI-Net+, to foster the dialogue between European SDI stakeholders.