Internet age navigation drives economies

Jan 30, 2013 by Glenn Chapman
The Google Maps app is seen on an Apple iPhone 4S on December 13, 2012 in Fairfax, California. Google on Wednesday touted studies showing that Internet Age navigation tools boost the economic engines of nations.

Fresh from unveiling detailed online maps of North Korea, Google on Wednesday touted studies showing that Internet Age navigation tools boost the economic engines of nations.

The global "geospatial industry" brings in $270 billion in annual revenue and companies in the sector pay more than $90 billion in wages each year, according to a report by economic consulting firm Oxera.

Firms working with global , and navigation systems are a "promising engine for economic activity now" and will grow by 30 percent annually, according to Oxera.

"If policymakers, private companies, researchers and consumers continue to invest in this emerging industry, we can expect this technology to continue driving growth in the broader ," Oxera said in its report.

Geospatial technology has ripple effects ranging from making it easier for someone with a smartphone to find a nearby cafe to efficiently routing shipments or figuring out the best place to open a shop or place a billboard.

Oxera estimated that businesses worldwide have saved $17.3 billion due to time saved by using navigation technology and that people had a total of 1.1 billion hours lopped from their travel time.

Charlie Hale, of ' public policy team, described the geospatial industry as companies dealing in maps and .

Major shipping firm UPS uses modern navigation technology to plot efficient delivery routes, taking into account weather, altitude, road pitch and myriad other factors, according to Hale.

Governments tap into for a range of needs, from disaster responses to urban planning and improving mass transit systems.

"The key is that we shouldn't take it for granted," Hale said. "Policy makers need to support making map data available and private companies like ours need to keep investing in this."

Companies and countries with modern map skills and data have economic and competitive advantages, he argued, citing the Oxera study and a US-focused study by Boston Consulting Group.

"It is like any technology transition," Hale said. "If you were a small business 50 years ago, your marketing could be the yellow pages and those with TV ads had competitive advantage."

Now, businesses that are easy to find on have an edge.

Evidence is even growing that people with better grasps of digital era mapping and navigation technologies earn higher incomes, according to Hale, who confessed to being the son of a geography teacher in Maine.

"It is about being able to use satellite imagery, GPS, all the tools the average global worker is going to have to rely on," he said.

Explore further: Two more former Sony workers sue over data breach

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google Maps Navigation soon to be available offline

Jun 09, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- All About Phones, a Dutch-based tech site has released information that implies that Google Maps Navigation will have an offline version before the end of the summer. The information, which is o ...

Recommended for you

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

5 hours ago

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

Clooney slams skittish Hollywood after Sony hack

11 hours ago

Film star George Clooney slammed the Hollywood movie industry for failing to stand up against the cyber threats that prompted Sony Pictures to cancel release of the movie "The Interview."

Atos shares soar after Xerox acquisition

14 hours ago

Shares in French tech firm Atos soared nearly five percent on Friday as traders cheered the news it had bought the IT wing of Xerox for more than $1 billion.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.