If you are in the geospatial world or you have interacted with someone in the geospatial field, then you’ve definitely come across the term Geo-ICT. So what is GeoICT? GeoICT means Geospatial Information and Communication Technology which is the concept of integrating geospatial technology into the mainstream of ICT. Some of the geospatial technologies include Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Earth Observation, LiDAR Systems, Global Navigational Satellite Systems, Aerial Survey, Ground Survey, etc. ICT technologies include hardware, software, networks, operating systems, the World Wide Web, etc.. GIS refers to a computer-based system of hardware, software, people and networks used to collect, process, analyze, manipulate, visualize and store geographic data for the purpose of problem-solving and decision making. From a technical point of view, GeoICT is one of the several trends that have led to the development of GIS Technology. GeoICT provides broader applications that traditional GIS may not have addressed fully. It is clearly applied in the fields of Location Intelligence, Disaster Monitoring, Land Administration, Spatial Planning and Health.
GeoICT in Location Intelligence
Location intelligence (LI) is achieved through visualizing and analyzing geospatial data.
Geospatial data analysis fosters understanding, insight, decision-making, and prediction. Adding layers of geographic data, for example, weather, demographics and traffic to a dashboard or a smart map, organizations can use intelligence tools to identify the location of an event that has taken place, understand why it is happening, and gain insight into what caused it. As part of a digital transformation, many organizations are relying on GeoICT to create location intelligence.
GeoICT in Disaster Monitoring and Response
GeoICT can assist in the gathering and analysis of relevant data to take appropriate actions in advance of disaster occurrences such as droughts, floods, storms, tsunamis, fires. While such disasters strike, geospatial intellectual ability together with ICT technologies provide emergency response teams with accurate hazard maps derived from remote sensing data and satellite imagery keeping the government authorities up to date on present situations and which areas require immediate attention.
The efficiency of transferring land rights and the realization of an effective land market depends on the level of access to land information. Parcel information is about all the documents, maps and information that describes the rights and interests on land. Before the introduction of Geo-Information Technology (Geo-ICT) within the land administration system, the information regarding the spatial unit of Land Administration, i.e. a land parcel used to be represented in the analogue format, specifically in the cadastral map of paper format. The analogue system presents the data in a rigid format, thus it was impossible to integrate the cadastral data with the other data of the common geographical area. Lack of access to land information hinders the growth of the land market. The introduction of Geo-ICT helps to acquire, manage, visualize and disseminate parcel information effectively and efficiently so that it enhances the strengths of a land administration system.
Location is a fundamental aspect of spatial planning. According to the European Commission, Spatial planning refers to the methods used largely by the public sector to inﬂuence the future distribution of activities in space. The aims of spatial planning are described as: Creating a more rational territorial organization of land uses and the linkages between them and balancing the demands for development with the need to protect the environment, and achieving social and economic objectives. The ﬁrst steps in Geo-ICT were therefore triggered by the needs of spatial planners and landscape architects to develop map-producing systems to store, analyze and visualize spatial data.
The main value of the introduction of Geo-ICT into spatial planning was the rapidity and accuracy with which maps could be produced, as well as the new possibilities for performing all kinds of analyses on geographical data. The dependence of sociocratic planning on technical solutions can be illustrated further by the use of Geo-ICT for visualization and communication in participatory planning processes. New techniques, such as map tables and 3D virtual reality viewers have been developed to facilitate communication on spatial information to the participants of a spatial planning process and to avoid unfocused design discussions, unjustiﬁed expectations, and expensive and unchangeable planning decisions.
GeoICT in Health
Health is an issue of patient care as well as of public health. With the use of GeoICT, individuals can visit different health facilities and patient data is collected and synchronized on a geospatial platform. Patient history of the different ailments, diagnostic tests and drug schedules can be linked using Internet connectivity. Moreover, patient data can be saved and used as a future reference by another specialist. The applications of GeoICT in health is also seen in the development of web applications. Users can locate specialists near them in times of medical urgency with the availability of internet connectivity. Monitoring of diseases is also done with the use of GeoICT. A great and present example is the monitoring of COVID-19 disease. Information of location of hotspots is collected, visualized using interactive dashboards, analyzed and then disseminated for use by health organizations.
There is no doubt about the importance of Geo-ICT in today’s world. Location has become a key that links to geospatial technology and ICT applications. As previously mentioned, GeoICT (Geospatial Information and Communication Technology) is the concept of integrating geospatial technology into the mainstream of ICT. GeoICT Technologies include GIS, Remote Sensing, Earth Observation, hardware, software and the World Wide Web. GeoICT is one of the several trends that have led to the development of GIS Technology and provides broader applications that traditional GIS may not have addressed fully. These technologies combined become very useful in the fields of Location Intelligence, Land Administration, Health, Disaster Management and Spatial Planning. GeoICT can assist in the gathering and analysis of data to take appropriate actions in advance of disaster occurrences, helps visualize and disseminate parcel information, gives rapid and accurate maps for spatial planning, helps in monitoring of diseases and outbreaks, development of patient databases and helps organizations to make better decisions about their customers through location intelligence.