NEW YORK — At the second session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UNCE-GGIM), held at the United Nations Headquarters Aug.13 - 15, more than 200 delegates met to discuss future trends in geospatial information management and management strategies.

The three-day expert group meeting covered a variety of major issues, discussing major trends and challenges that will need to be addressed in the coming years in order to ensure that the benefits of having accurate, maintained and reliable geospatial data are realized in all nations.  Several resolutions were adopted, including the provision of high-quality and reliable geospatial information to deliver sustainable social and economic development, and on the development of a global knowledge base for geospatial information.

Wu Hongbo, under-secretary-general of the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, said, “The recent Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development recognized that geospatial information is crucial for both sustainable development and humanitarian assistance.  It provides a clear mandate for the future work of the UN Committee of Experts on GGIM. This high-level consensus provides critical momentum. It also reflects the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s vision that building effective geospatial infrastructures and promoting greater use of geospatial information are part of a new frontier in harnessing science and technology for advancing sustainable development.”

During the meeting between the co-chairs and Ameerah Haq, under-secretary-general of the United Nations Department of Field Support, Haq emphasized the fundamental importance of geospatial information in support of nation-building, particularly in post-conflict areas. She cited examples such as Afghanistan, Timor-Leste and Sudan based on her field experience. She pointed out the fundamental importance of geospatial information in the context of land and resource management.

Dr. Vanessa Lawrence CB, co-chair of the UNCE-GGIM and director general and chief executive of Ordnance Survey, added,  “It is especially pleasing to see the recognition of accurate, maintained geospatial information across many areas of the globe, with many countries and states using location information to support their economies, aid development and underpin fundamental decision-making.”

The UNCE-GGIM is raising the awareness and benefits of geospatial information, as well as promoting best practice on geospatial management. There is a need to support all states across the globe to ensure that part of the basic infrastructure of each nation is accurate, reliable and maintained geospatial information.

Further information on the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management can be found at ggim.un.org.