The Future of Geospatial Data Management: A Natural Resource Perspective

Burley, T.E., and Peine, J.D., 2010, The Future of Geospatial Data Management: A Natural Resource Perspective, GeoWorld, v.23, no. 7, p. 20-23.

Do you know where your data are or how they came to be? This question has been pondered by nearly everyone working in natural-resource management. Spatial data, in particular, are being collected at a significant rate, and an increasing number of sources are freely available. Geospatial tools and technology that were “cutting edge” 10 years ago now are expected as a component of most natural-resource studies. And an increased realization that spatial data are unique and valuable has shaped the types of data and information used in decision making.New types of geospatial data and information have led to exciting approaches to resource-management issues. These new geospatial data and information come with many considerations, such as spatial accuracy, projection and datum, field methods, and electronic formats. Although GIS and GPS technology greatly contribute to improved resource management and decision making, such tools don’t automatically lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness. When these tools are used without careful pre-planning, the ability to capitalize on their potential is lost or greatly diminished. Data deficiencies resulting from poor data documentation and overall data management shortcomings can greatly reduce the value and utility of spatial data, and impede the ability to address natural-resource management issues in the most effective manner. …

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