Aug 13, 2014

Global Forum on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information

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Global Forum on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information shows the way to enhance data management as well as the 2020 Round of Population Censuses

The Global Forum, held at the UN headquarters in New York, 4-5 August, brought together for the first time the heads of national statistical offices and national geospatial information authorities from around the world. Their mission was to discuss the strategic goals and vision for the integration of statistics and geospatial information.

The Forum reflects the critical importance of integrating geospatial information with statistics and socio-economic data as well as the development of a geospatial-statistical framework. It was stressed that maps and statistics are not so effective in isolation; only when they are combined within an overall information management framework do they reach their full potential.

This is particularly relevant in the context of the post-2015 development agenda as well as finding an integrated statistical and geospatial solution to the 2020 round of Population Censuses. The Forum recognised that geospatial and statistical information needs to include a broader agenda including agriculture and economic censuses, as well as environmental-economic accounting.

The Global Forum was organised by a subject-matter Expert Group established within the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) and the UN Statistical Commission. This event took place within the Fourth Session of UN Committee of Exerts on Global Geospatial Information Management.

This Forum follows on from an International Workshop on Integrating Geospatial and Statistical Information, which was held in Beijing, China in June 2014. There, it was stressed that users want information/knowledge, thus the need to transform data into information. Delegates were reminded that data collection, processing, analysis and operations are a means to an end – not the end in itself.

The participants focused on an action-oriented programme so that issues to be addressed will be based on: prioritisation, clarity and focus.

The Economic and Social Council of the UN (ECOSOC) established the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) UN-GGIM was established to play a leading role in setting the agenda for the development of global geospatial information and to promote its use to address key global challenges. Its aim is to provide a forum to liaise and co-ordinate geospatial information activities among UN Member States, and between UN Member States and international organisations.

In 2013 at the Third Session, the Committee of Experts endorsed and adopted the report ‘Future Trends in Geospatial Information Management: the five to ten year vision’ The committee had commissioned the report during its First Session in 2011. It documented the thoughts of leaders in the geospatial world about the future of the industry over the next five and ten years.

The Fourth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) is available on-demand at the UN Web TV website:

For additional information on the fourth session, including the agenda and technical reports, please visit.