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Integrating statistical and geospatial information, cultures and professions: International developments and Australian experience

Abstract

For more than half a century, the United Nations (UN) Statistical Commission has been the highest body of the global statistical system. Bringing together Chief Statisticians, the UN Statistical Commission considers and decides upon statistical standards and the development of concepts and methods, and their implementation at the national and international level. In contrast, the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management has existed for only the last 5 years. Established by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2011, the Committee brings together senior national government geospatial experts to develop strategies to build and strengthen national capacity on geospatial information, as well as disseminate best practices and experiences of national, regional and international bodies on geospatial information.

The 60th International Statistical Institute World Statistics Congress, held in Brazil in July 2015, recognised the importance of the integration of statistical and geospatial information. The then President of the International Association for Official Statistics, Professor Kawasaki, used his Presidential Address to shine a light on this important area for official statistics.

Driven by a growing demand for better data for more informed decision-making, there is an increasing body of material available about the technical aspects and benefits of bringing together statistical and geospatial information, but little has been written about the cultural aspects of two diverse professional communities working together. This paper focuses on some of these cultural aspects, and highlights cooperation underway globally, and nationally within Australia, and provides some suggestions for further improvement.

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