The Economic Impact of Geospatial Services: How Consumers, Businesses & Society Benefit from Location-based Information

Despite the growing use of geospatial technology around the globe, its true economic value remains hidden, as traditional measuring concepts have failed to keep up with the rapid evolution of the industry. Quantifying the extent of geospatial benefits can be difficult given that many geospatial services are provided free of charge and therefore go unmeasured. In addition, it’s often impossible to separate geospatial services from the broader product they’re embedded in (such as ride-sharing apps). Lastly, it’s hard to measure the indirect benefits of geospatial services, which have become indispensable for a wide range of professions —from urban planners to ambulance drivers.

The goal of this report, which is based on a consumer survey across 22 countries spanning six regions and other innovative estimation approaches (such as big data analysis of online job postings), is to broaden the public knowledge about the many ways in which geospatial services contribute to our society. It provides the most comprehensive economic impact analysis of the geospatial services industry to date and should help inform the actions of investors and decision-makers in government.

The study’s main finding is that digital maps are playing a significant role in changing our lives for the better. Digital maps have become powerful tools for policymakers to ensure the safety of their citizens and inform urban planning decisions, and for companies and consumers to save time and money when managing their daily affairs. And the benefits of digital maps are far bigger than people may think. As an industry, geospatial services generate US$400 billion in revenue per year. However, their total economic contribution is several times higher, as geospatial services have a myriad of other positive effects for society and the environment.

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