Editor's note: Assessing geotech's underlying value
Fast-paced tech-driven sectors such as the geospatial sector seldom pause for reflection to assess and measure its progress and value. Not change detection or even financial value, but geotech’s deeper value – disproportionate to most sectors – to society. The Notre-Dame Cathedral fire in France offered one such moment of reflection. Dating back to 1160, the medieval, gothic cathedral suffered structural damage after its spire caught fire in April 2019. Fortunately, the pioneering late Prof. Andrew Tallon (an architectural historian) conducted several 3D laser scans of the cathedral several years prior. These scans are now immeasurable valuable, starting with the reconstruction project.
Considering the increasingly impressive capabilities of geotech, it is worth remembering the geospatial industry’s underlying value to people, to society, in real-world terms, and not as mere cool digital datasets on screens. This Norte-Dame case further serves as a reminder of the importance for our sector to remain open-minded and taking a multi-disciplinary approach, one that welcomes other professionals rather than excludes them. Geotech is not an independent domain, and those charting its future are often outsiders. Lastly, it emphasises the importance of sharing knowledge through documented case studies and making it accessible, without which its value will be forever lost.