GSDI Association in Transition
Since its first international conference in 1996 and especially after its formal constitution in 2004, the GSDI Association led a global campaign to advance awareness and implementation of Spatial Data Infrastructures worldwide. Throughout this time, the Association’s mission and purpose were to enable society to leverage the power of geospatial information and associated tools to improve decision making relating to, amongst other things, economic, social and environmental challenges that permeate local, regional and international boundaries. Today, many nations around the world have aligned with common SDI principles, practices and standards to facilitate improved collaboration and sharing of geospatial information across multiple domains and thus realized the benefits of doing so.
With a focus on prioritizing assistance to developing nations, the GSDI led educational programs and capacity building activities, and funded over 100 small grants to enable communities to benefit from SDI practices. GSDI members were first in creating knowledge resources like ‘The GSDI Cookbook’ in 2004 to help communities rapidly adopt SDI practices for creating, cataloguing, managing and delivering and exchanging geospatial information.
Former GSDI members look back with considerable satisfaction on the successes of their Association and the GSDI movement. Whilst acknowledging that additional work, particularly in the developing world, is still required to expand capabilities, and that practices worldwide must be continually updated to take advantage of developments in information technology and evolving policies, members see that their original core mission and purpose has been achieved in many areas of the world. The GSDI movement helped to produce a global network of professionals and spawned a number of new organizations and initiatives dedicated to the continued advancement of the benefits enabled through implementation of spatial data infrastructures.
With creation of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management UM GGIM), the UN now offers its member nations and GSDI professionals from across the public, academic and private sectors the opportunity to advance the very principles and practices that the GSDI developed and promoted since its founding in 2004.
The last service GSDI President, Dave Lovell OBE, FRGS, CGeog said: “GSDI’s members believe the time is right to recognize this moment of opportunity to offer our remaining resources to the UN-GGIM program and other initiatives which advance activities consistent with our purpose and mission. We therefore are announcing that we will be winding down the GSDI Association as a legal entity over the coming months and using our remaining financial resources to support the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management and specifically to fund developing nation’s attendance at this important forum."
"We believe and sincerely hope that the GSDI mission will continue through the thousands of professionals around the world who have contributed to and benefitted from GSDI. The GSDI website will continue for as long as possible to provide a rich information resource for those implementing Spatial Data Infrastructures.”
The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Association was formed in 2004 as an inclusive networking organization of academic and research institutions, government agencies, commercial geomatics firms, national and regional GI associations and individuals (geo professionals and students) from around the world.
The purpose of the Association was to promote international cooperation and collaboration in support of local, national and international spatial data infrastructure (SDI) research and implementations that would allow nations to better address social, economic, and environmental issues of pressing importance, including sustainable development.