arrows03What exactly is the geoeconomy that everyone is buzzing about? The rise of location-based applications—GPS, social, mobile, and enterprise—all point to a market for, or at least an increased supply of geospatial data and technologies, but does that mean that a GeoEconomy therefore ensues?

An economist will tell you that a GeoEconomy exists when economic decisions are made based on geoinformation, not just because geoinformation is widely available. An economy is based on supply and demand, buyers and sellers, actors and agents, and exchanges of goods and services for value. As economies transition from agriculture to industrial to information-based, the consumption patterns of buyers (consumers and customers) change as well, from primarily agricultural products and services to manufacturing products and services to information products and services.

A GeoEconomy therefore presumes that a significant proportion of the consumption that takes place is related to geoinformation products and services. Are we already there? We have 520 million GPS devices globally, 600 million plus GoogleEarth downloads, maps and directions now a norm on most websites, thousands of location-based services applications… On the enterprise side, Fortune 1000 companies depend on location information for corporate real estate, retail site selection, com- munications and utilities network operations, aviation traffic management, financial services and fraud management, and natural resource exploration and extraction as a few examples. By these metrics, the GeoEconomy already exists and has been enabled by digital maps, imagery, and GPS technology.

However, for the GeoEconomy to really come alive, geoinformation products and services must play a role in every economic process from the flow of materials to the flow of information and money. In this issue, our contributors address the key decisions in the economic process including:

→ What is the nature of the product or service to be offered (form, function, feature)?
→ Where will it be produced and distributed?
→ How will it be transported and delivered?
→ Who is the intended customer?
→ How will it be priced?


While collection of geoinformation through GPS devices and distribution of geoinformation appears to be free-flowing, the data integration to analyze all this information and apply it at every economic stage still remains a challenge. The GeoEconomy, simply stated is therefore really about knowing where to look and what to look for when seeking the right match between product or services and customers. But this requires data integration and location analytics across silos, departments, agencies, and countries. And that means best practices and standardized approaches to geoinformation. Read on for a GeoEconomy in action: GeoEconomy standards; location-based solutions to International Food Security; Location Data best practices; geoinformation platforms, investments, and infrastructure; and commonalities across Agribusiness, Retail, and Communications.

Remember to discover your location dimension.

Natasha Léger