At a time of digital revolution and exponential data growth, the UN call for authoritative, reliable, repeatable and fit-for-purpose data. Such data are fundamental for evidence-based decision-making, needed to address the Agenda 2030 development challenges and to leave no one behind.
Recent technological innovations, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing, are accelerating the ongoing geospatial information paradigm shift from mass production (data, images, maps) to mass customisation (web information services, personalised products). It is expected that the use of information products and services based on Earth Observation (EO) data will grow. Also, new applications will be introduced to maximise the economic and societal benefit of EO data for agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, water, land planning, urbanisation, and the energy challenges of our planet.
Other major transformations relate to how geospatial data are generated and how users without any professional skills are using geospatial technology in their daily life. Crowdsourcing, Geographic Citizen Science, and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) are becoming an important source of geographic information, entering areas that until recently have been the exclusive realm of respected agencies.
The G-STIC 2018 Geospatial Data thematic cluster will focus on demonstrating how unlocking EO data and the associated market‐ready technology solutions create sustainable economic and societal benefits.