GeoWorld November 2012

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The Age of SDI 3.0 "We are approaching a new era that could fundamentally reposition SDI from a framework for sharing information and applications services to a new way of looking at governance and public engagement," says Sorensen. "Modern GIS is much more than computerized mapping. With the right technical and institutional frameworks, it can provide a multi-sector, interdisciplinary, regional information infrastructure for bringing all manner of data together geographically to support integrated and multi-sector decision making as well as strengthen the ability of diverse interests to better understand complex natural and socioeconomic systems and the interactions among them. "This infrastructure will ultimately help develop more sustainable and resilient communities, support wise management of resources and aid in the conservation of cultural and natural heritage," he adds. Sorensen is referring to a new wave of SDIs built to link existing systems as well as address real, pressing issues facing all governments, such as social unrest or environmental upheaval. For example, an SDI 3.0 might find that a particular neighborhood's displeasure with the government, found by analyzing geotagged twitter "tweets," is directly linked to a higher-than-average rate of unsolved burglaries for that area. Or it could identify a link between a spike in health-related emergency call rates for a particular area and a water pipeline that serves that community. The convergence of telecommunications, locationbased services, mobile computing, citizens' volunteered geographic information, and information gathering and sensing networks all provide a rich and diverse information environment that can be tapped with new tools and techniques to derive useful results. This environment also provides a basis for establishing multiple channels of two-way engagement with public- and private-sector enterprises as well as institutional and civil society sectors in a manner that will transform how government actually functions. Through such a massively connected and dynamic information environment, it should be possible to identify environmental and socioeconomic trends as well as their multiple causative factors and interdependent issues far in advance. Then entities can initiate the coordinated interventions needed to tackle problems and take advantage of opportunities. Government Special Issue Ubiquitous Applications For the average person, SDI 3.0 allows unparalleled levels of engagement with governments and governing entities. For example, citizen-reporting applications, such as City Sourced, provide software solutions that allow citizens to report civic issues (e.g., public safety, quality of life, environmental issues, etc.) to the appropriate government agency by taking and submitting a geotagged photo through a custom app on their smartphone. Government entities then can provide status feedback to the citizen who lodged the complaint, ensuring that citizens feel engaged instead of annoyed by all-toocommon "black hole" government-feedback forms. Private, commercial enterprises with access to real-time SDI 3.0 information can help stimulate the economy by capitalizing on growth opportunities that may not have been otherwise identified. For example, home-security firms might best spend marketing budgets in areas where security-related terms are most often used on Twitter, who have relatively high spending patterns according to census data and are furthest from police stations. This information might already be available through disparate sources, but the era of SDI 3.0 aims to enable easy one-stop access to this information for the masses. Data mashups allow for insightful GIS "infographics," such as this one showing race and ethnicity in the San Francisco Bay Area. N O V E M B E R 2 O 1 2 / W W W . G E O P L A C E . C O M 27 ERIC FISCHER As SDIs herald in a new era of leveraging and cross-linking information from traditional and nonconventional sources such as crowdsourcing, people are encountering what Mark Sorensen, president of The GPC Group, calls "SDI 3.0."

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