VIEWPOINT | The Geospatial Planner
We are well into a geospatial phase of the Information Age.
In a data-driven world, there is increasing demand for Geospatial Planners that are able to harness and deploy geospatial solutions for development planning.
Geospatial technologies that were once the exclusive domain of specialists – from GIS to remote sensing, 3D modeling, GPS and aerial surveying – have become generally more accessible for planners through advancements in the areas of micro-computing, handheld devices, open source environs and cross-platform applications. What data, where, and how it could be created/used, poses new creative challenges for the Geospatial Planner where each project application requires a tailored data solution.
Where the urban planner is traditionally required to be a generalist ‘jack-of-all-trades’ with respect to land use, transportation, environment, infrastructure, society etc, so the notion extends to today’s Geospatial Planners in terms of the spatial datasets and technologies that can be applied in these various fields. To this end, the Geospatial Planner functions as a data generator, custom tool builder, analytical machine and visualisation support for planning and development projects.
The spatial data literacy demands on urban planners in this day and age have gone beyond basic GIS proficiency, and are extending into the arenas of imagery applications, web/mobile mapping platforms, coding, spatial data mining, content management systems and visualisation media.
Now more than ever planning education should be focused on cultivating a generation of Geospatial Planners. Where there is data there is hope. Where there is planning there is purpose.