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Monitoring and understanding emerging geospatial technologies

Go to training moduleMonitoring and understanding emerging geospatial technologies


This self-learning module discusses the major (technological) trends that affect the geospatial community. The aim of the training module is to better understand all the trends we hear about daily, how we can monitor and understand them, to which degree they are relevant for our activities and also to understand their impact on geospatial interoperability challenges.

There is a lot of talking about new technologies and emerging trends: big data and data analytics using artificial intelligence; blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology; Internet of Things; Virtual, Extended and Augmented Reality; Sensor Web Enablement and Event Stream Processing; the Cloud, the Fog and the Edge; location authentication and secure access; API’s as the new way to expose data; Smart Cities and Digital Urban Twins; Crowdsourcing and Citizens Science; etc. Most, if not all, have an impact on or are closely related to developments in the geospatial sector. Moreover, the geospatial sector is also contributing to its developments and creates solutions that make use of these new technologies. Geospatial experts, Chief Technology and Information Officers and others are often wondering: what is relevant for us and how do all these technologies and trends relate to each other. It is a complex puzzle.

In this training module, it is not possible to discuss, and certainly to provide deep insights in the individuals trends and emerging technologies. The module rather focus what are the drivers, how we can monitor and cluster them. The concept of a Technology Trends Watch (TTW) is introduced as a mechanism to monitor and get insights in them. Such a TTW is maintained by the OGC and also used by other communities such as the EO4GEO Sector Skills Alliance. Some examples are given and also the impact on interoperability is discussed.


  1. Introduction
  2. Drivers and Trends as identified by the UN-GGIM
  3. Monitoring and assessing trends: from isolated studies to TTW’s
  4. Major trends and how they fit together: zooming in on some examples 5. Interoperability efforts and challenges


Learning outcomes

After the training, the learner will be able:

  • To identify and list the major drivers that impact and steer societal and technology trends and that are relevant for the geospatial domain. 
  • To identify and explain different approaches for monitoring and documenting (technology) trends. 
  • To make distinction between disruptive technologies, emerging trends, and mature technologies. 
  • To identify and list major trends and how they can be analysed by clustering them in logical groups. 
  • To explain the impact emerging trends have on interoperability challenges and on the architectures
  • and standards of SDI’s such as INSPIRE.


Intended Audience

The module aims at students and/or professionals looking for an overview of the most important technology trends and how those could affect their current practices, or how they could provide new opportunities. The module aims to target geospatial experts, Chief Technology and Information Officers, managers of eGovernment processes


There are no explicit pre-requisites although we consider basic knowledge on ICT and geospatial is adviced.

Training format

The module is a self-learning module: it is offered as e-learning video with supporting PPT, and other materials.

Expected Workload: Expected workload is 2,5 hours (this includes own reading and browsing of websites).

Language: English


This training module has been developed as a webinar under the ELISE Knowledge Transfer Action (ISA² programme). The module has been adapted/extended to better fit in the INSPIRE Training offer.


Authors: Danny Vandenbroucke (SADL/KU Leuven) and Gobe Hobona (OGC - Open Geospatial

Consortium). The material is provided under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 (