FIG Peer Review Journal


From Silos to Networks – Will Users Drive Spatial Data Infrastructures in the Future? (4137)

Kevin McDougall (Australia)
Dr. Kevin McDougall
Head Surveying and Spatial Science
Faculty of Engineering and Surveying
University of Southern Queensland
West Steet
Corresponding author Dr. Kevin McDougall (email: mcdougak[at], tel.: + 61 7 46312545)

[ abstract ] [ paper ] [ handouts ]

Published on the web 2010-01-14
Received 2009-11-19 / Accepted 2010-01-14
This paper is one of selection of papers published for the FIG Congress 2010 in Sydney, Australia and has undergone the FIG Peer Review Process.

FIG Congress 2010
ISBN 978-87-90907-87-7 ISSN 2308-3441


Spatial data infrastructures (SDI) have continued to evolve over the past 20 years from top-down policy driven initiatives to increasingly bottom-up approaches where lower levels of government are now active participants in building local SDI. Government mapping agencies at the national and state levels are now no longer willing to fund the ongoing cost of traditional mapping either in hard or digital formats. Cost recovery efforts by governments in the 1990s in Australia were generally unsuccessful and consequential changes to reduce government expenditure by shifting the costs across to the private sector soon followed. Spatial data infrastructures have moved to reduce the duplication of jurisdictional efforts whilst at the same time providing portals which promote the wider utilisation of spatial data across the community. Although government continue to have a major role in the ongoing development of SDI, it has become apparent that the driving forces are longer vested in the traditional government data custodians, but increasingly with the data users and value-adders. This paper explores the progressive development of spatial data infrastructures and the more recent phenomena that is become known as volunteered geographic information (VGI). The significant change in balance in the role of traditional government agencies and the increasing advocacy of private sector organisations and individuals in the collection and management of spatial data will inevitably have an impact on the development of future SDI models. It is proposed that future SDI models will move from being government centric to user driven models where private sector organisations and individuals will play a key role. This trend may challenge the role traditional mapping agencies and introduce higher levels of complexity within our current SDI models. The issues and opportunities in developing a network approach to SDI are discussed and the possible role of volunteered geographic information is examined.
Keywords: GSDI