GeoWorld November 2012

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Page 26 of 32

Industry Trends BY KEITH PARKER Can SDI 3.0 Deliver ? Real Societal Change E ver since the widespread proliferation of computers in the 1990s ushered in the "Information Age," there's been an explosion in the amount of information that's collected, stored and analyzed. Petabytes of data flood into public and private enterprises daily. Many experts, such as Time magazine's Steven James Snyder, believe we're exiting the Information Age and entering the "Understanding Age." Although technology has powered the collection of vast archives of information in even the most remote areas of the world, the true challenge ahead is in understanding and using such information to make interconnected public and private institutions more efficient and effective. 26 G E O W O R L D / N O V E M B E R 2 O 1 2 Working toward this goal, governments worldwide use spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) to link GISs of disparate public entities, including utility, emergency response, telecom and infrastructure networks along with natural and cultural resources. SDIs typically go further to link these systems as well as incorporate the institutional and governance elements necessary for effective and reliable information sharing and coordination across traditional administrative and political boundaries. The information typically held by a GIS is, by nature, location based. Location-based information can be structured, stored or combined with other information resources in a variety of ways to answer many different questions related to "place." Government Special Issue

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