What is spatial?

Spatial information deals with the position, area and size of things. We often interact with spatial information using a map or model of the things we are concerned with.

Much spatial information is about geography, and focusses on things that are on or near the Earth’s surface. However, new technologies are making it easier for spatial skills and technologies to be used in other ways, like mapping the damage to layers of skin in third degree burns.

We use spatial information to understand what is happening, and how doing things differently will improve outcomes.

Spatial information is a broad term for referring to the skills, data and technologies used to create, analyse, manage, interpret and connect information about where things are. Spatial information is at the heart of big data, and is believed to make up about 80% of the world’s information.

Demystifying the technologies

Spatial information relies on location-based services and technologies such as satellites, sensors, drones, lidar, GPS, ground penetrating radar, as well as centuries-old maths-science skills including surveying, mapping, modelling, and geography.

Common spatial information terms include: Geographic Information Systems (GIS), location intelligence, remote sensing, GPS, cadastre, precise positioning, fundamental data sets.

The industries

Almost every industry and every person with a smartphone uses spatial information. Many industries are starting to discover how spatial information can transform the way they do things as an industry, and how businesses and society can benefit.

Industries that are already heavy users of spatial information include:

  • Construction and property
  • Defence
  • Mining
  • Transport
  • Communications
  • Local Government

Industries that are now investing in spatial information include:

  • Health
  • Emergency Management
  • Infrastructure
  • Agriculture
  • Insurance
  • Community Services
  • Retail

The jobs and spatial in practice

Spatial skills are applied across a range of industries to jobs such as:

  • Planners
  • Engineers
  • Weather forecasters
  • Risk Managers
  • Asset Managers
  • Marketers
  • Surveyors
  • Geospatial scientists
  • Spatial system developers
  • Cartographers