46. Geospatial Friday - What really happened at the G20

 
 

In politics it's difficult to say what is real and what is made-up.

With this in mind, following the recently concluded G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, there are now unconfirmed reports that the geospatial world has set some standards for all future political negotiations.

 
 

While the purpose of the summit was to address issues impacting sustainable global growth, according to sources the event also included geospatial training workshops which were aimed at developing the required 21st century skillsets of these global leaders. This was considered an essential requirement by organizers considering the geographic nature of the topics which were being discussed (e.g. energy, trade, conflict and terrorism, food security, climate targets, human rights etc).

 
 

During the geospatial training session the leaders were broken into groups of five and the feedback from participants was largely positive. The follow is a brief account from participants of one of the groups.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel admitted that GIS gave her a better perspective on the patterns of the human migration crisis issue and how it could perhaps be better managed by NGOs and the international community. Meanwhile, the new UK Prime Minister Theresa May, couldn't contain her delight at learning that geospatial datasets and statistical data can be fused together in order to create thematic visualisations. "This will allow me to better understand the social and political divide which is so apparent in the wake of the Brexit referendum result." she said. Outgoing President of the United States, Barack Obama was given an opportunity to reflect on how he could use the technology in his post-presidential days. It's likely that he will focus on this technology when he becomes a guest-editor of Wired magazine over the coming months. Overall, Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who was tasked with overseeing the group's activities seemed satisfied with the collaborative effort in the workshop. However, he did admit that the group was frustrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin's continued attempts to adjust the non-editable national borders dataset.

 
 

So after these events it's clear that those who need to 'get' geospatial have finally taken the first steps and that geospatial tech will set the standard for tools used in future diplomatic negotiations. As one global leader admitted after the workshop:

"When you have global leaders trying to solve global problems in a globalised world, somehow spreadsheets and pie charts just don't seem to cut it any more."

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