Landmark study qualifies economic benefits of spatial information

22 industry sectors analysed

The spatial information industry is a major contributor to the national economy generating revenue of A$1.37 billion in the 2006/07 financial year, according to a new study released by Australia's Spatial Information Council (ANZLIC) today.

This is a contribution of between $6.4 and $12.6 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The independent study which was released at the WALIS International Forum is the world's first authoritative analysis on the economic impact of spatial information and demonstrates a higher than expected value.

It was commissioned by the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) with support from ANZLIC and is based on analysis of 22 sectors of the Australian economy.

The study found that the spatial industry: increased household consumption by between $3.6 and $6.9 billion; increased investment by between $1.8 and $3.7 billion; had a positive impact on the balance of trade with exports increasing by up to $2.3 billion and; increased real wages by between 0.6 and 1.2 per cent.

The study estimates that inefficient access to data reduces the direct productivity of some sectors by between five and 15 per cent.

Key sectors that benefit from spatial information include: agriculture, forestry and fisheries; mining and petroleum; property and business services; construction; transport and storage; utilities; communications; retail and trade; tourism; manufacturing; and local, state and federal government.

CRCSI CEO, Peter Woodgate, said the study confirms the enormous future potential from increased adoption of spatial information and from new applications across a wider range of industries.

The CRCSI will draw on the ACIL Tasman study to develop a bid for further CRC Program funding over 2009 through to 2016.

The CRC will develop new technologies, methodologies and systems to provide tools for application and commercial exploitation by Australian industry.

Director general of the Department of Lands, Warwick Watkins, has always regarded spatial information as contributing greatly to the nation.

"Fom the early surveyors and explorers like Burke and Wills, to the spatial sciences and technologies that are enabling the nation today, " he said.

"We have now captured the importance of spatial information in hard economic terms.

"This emphasises the critical importance of spatial information to Australia, its people, its environment and its economy."

The complete study is available for download from

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