The Importance of Geospatial Leadership in a Changing World

Provided by The Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California

It is no secret that geospatial technology like GPS and digital mapping software plays an increasingly critical role in not only how we understand our world, but how we interact with the environment around us. With great GIS technology, however, comes great responsibility.

The challenges of modern geospatial technology have created demand for leaders who understand the technical needs of their organizations as well as broader technology trends that may add value within their domains. As a result, the qualities of effective geospatial leaders and managers have expanded to include softer skills revolving around the ability to adapt to changing technology needs and collaborate with many different stakeholders, such as:
• Responding to rapid change in geospatial technology uses
• Collaborating across teams and disciplines to effectively implement complex geospatial solutions
• Ensuring the effective and ethical management of spatial data, including protection of sensitive information

What is Geospatial Technology?
While GPS is perhaps the most well-known geospatial technology, the term broadly defines the tools, systems and data that are used to study and understand spatial features, such as geography, weather patterns, sociopolitical movements, geology and the impact of natural disasters. An early example of geospatial technology was an 1832 map representing cholera epidemiology.

However, modern geospatial technology includes a vast range of tools, software applications and systems used for analyzing spatial information. For example, NASA uses mapping applications to better understand our solar system and beyond. Learn more about geospatial technology.

The Importance of Geospatial Technology and Leadership
While there are many different factors at play in the changing technology-driven world, interconnectivity has been one of the most dominant trends of the last several years, particularly with the increase in smarter, location-aware technologies for both consumers and businesses.

While this interconnectivity will create opportunities for the geospatial technology community, it has also created a need for geospatial leadership to help drive the ethical and effective use of spatial information.

Qualities of Effective Geospatial Leaders
Effective geospatial leaders thrive in highly dynamic environments. They must have the specific technical skills required for spatial analysis as well as a broad awareness of other technology trends and tools, and they must commit to lifelong learning; not only is the technology ever-changing, but the trend of interconnectivity means that the role of the geospatial leader is increasingly collaborative and multidisciplinary.

Looking ahead, geospatial technology will only become more deeply integrated into everyday life, critical services and military operations. The role of geospatial leadership will evolve along a similar path, becoming instrumental to driving strategies that stretch across multiple business functions, types of organizations and disciplines.

About USC’s Online Graduate GIS Programs
The University of Southern California offers a comprehensive selection of online GIS programs, including GIST master’s degrees and graduate certificates. Our online GIS master’s programs explore topics across numerous domains of geographic information science — including web and mobile GIS, digital mapping, spatial data acquisition and visualization, spatial data analysis and GIS application development. The USC GIS graduate certificates offer students an opportunity to pursue a specific subset of GIS skills.
Learn more about our online GIS programs:
Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology
Master of Science in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence
Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology
Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence
Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership

Edcor clients are eligible for a 5 percent tuition pricing reduction on these programs.Offer is subject to change. Terms and conditions apply. Click here for details.