New ‘How’ Guide published demonstrating how geospatial can be applied to climate challenges


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Following the recent Cambridge Conference, where geospatial leaders from across the globe explored the key role geospatial data can play in the climate challenge, OS and the global community have published a report called the ‘How’ Guide - Applying Geospatial Information to Climate Challenges.

The Guide pinpoints four practical steps the global geospatial community must take to influence governments and decision makers to help the planet mitigate climate damage and achieve adoption goals.

 OS’s Chief Geospatial Officer David Henderson said: “As a community of National Mapping and Geospatial Agencies (NMGAs), we took the opportunity to step back from our day jobs and build on the shared commitment to address climate action that we made. It was clear from our conversations that decision-makers need pragmatic solutions to the problems they are facing. This ‘How’ Guide should help us move past the ‘Why’ of needing to act to the practical steps that we can take to help achieve climate mitigation and adaption goals. 

 We’re delighted to share an overview of the guide’s main points. Whether you’re an NMGA or not, there is much here that demonstrates how we need to collaborate, so please read the

‘How’ Guide in full and reach out to discuss how we can build solutions together.”


Group attending the conference 

Lead and inspire with practical solutions  

In each of our countries, as geospatial experts and as senior leaders, we must take ownership of the problem and provide active direction – both for our organizations and for our governments. As well as supplying our data and services,  we need to support our users and work together to effectively solve problems.  

As a global community, we must continue to work together to propose solutions, and inspire others to apply geospatial capabilities in direct response to climate challenges. 

Show why trusted location data matters   

To be trusted and authoritative, we need to: 

  • Work relentlessly to understand what senior government officials are trying to achieve in the developing a climate response policy 
  • Champion and demonstrate how to use our geospatial data to effectively answer their questions 

 We know that often, our foundational geospatial data is not enough on its own to detect and mitigate against the impacts of climate change. We recognize the need to develop richer, analysis-ready data and identify where any gaps may be. 

Increased levels of collaboration between the public and private sector is required.. Improved communication between industry leaders and partners will unlock the greatest potential. Working together, we can achieve greater data  harmonization, interoperability, usability, and accessibility, streamlining the development and implementation of new solutions. And we can create a network of supportive voices, help expedite problem-solving, and start bringing end-user stories to the forefront. Together,  we can tell the story of how our data makes that possible. 

Connect data back to the real world  

Our role as National Mapping and Geospatial Agencies is to reflect the changes and impacts of climate change in the real world to better inform our governments’ responses to climate challenges.  

By building capability from within, collaborating with partners and focusing on outcomes, we must ensure that the data ecosystem around Net Zero reflects the tangible changes we are seeing in our societies and our environment every  day. This will make planning our response more targeted and effective. 

It’s all about the people  

Our focus should not only be on the technical process and data capture, but also the real-world impacts of our work. We must understand the ways in which different aspects of the climate response are interconnected in the real world.

So, we are committed to ensuring that the data and analysis we provide directly unlocks economic, social, and environmental value to government stakeholders and our citizens, conveying the impact of that value to real world outcomes involving real people. 

Getting this story right will help drive great levels of geospatial teaching in the school curriculum, increased focus on attracting passionate people that want to make a difference and encourage diversity of thought. It helps make the case for geospatial information to act as a fundamental data set. One which other industries, partners, and public sector users can rely on, to provide global consistency in our climate response. 

David added: “The Cambridge Conference 2022 demonstrated the international geospatial community’s dedication to the topic of climate action. I came away from the Conference feeling energized to act and I know that, if we continue

to learn from each other and work as a community, we can turn our commitments into sustainable action. I encourage all those interested to access the

‘How’ Guide and share with colleagues and stakeholders. The guide’s direction will help us achieve our international climate goals, as we tackle this shared problem – together.” 

 You can access the How Guide here.

Video from the event - Cambridge Conference 2022 - YouTube

‘How’ Guide Report video (featuring David H and others) - The How Guide | Applying Geospatial Information to Climate Challenges | Cambridge Conference 2022 - YouTube

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