Over 50 years ago, national mapping agencies (NMAs) embarked on the task of transitioning from paper maps to digital geodatabases due to the difficulties in maintaining and updating numerous paper maps. This initial digital transformation, known as digitization, resulted in the widespread integration of maps and mapping into our daily lives and business operations, exemplified by the popularity of platforms like Google Maps. It is reasonable to assert that Google Maps would not exist without this groundbreaking digital transformation. However, NMAs now face new challenges posed by emerging technologies such as AI/machine learning and big data analytics. These challenges require them to adapt to a mobile/cloud computing environment and enhance their competitiveness in the era of big data. While the first digital transformation focused on the shift from maps to geodatabases, the second digital transformation, referred to as digitalization, centers around converting big data into geographic knowledge to support spatial planning and decision making. This second digital transformation aims to address unresolved mapping issues, including fully automatic map generalization. It is our firm belief that NMAs will struggle to thrive in the big data era without embracing this second digital transformation, especially considering the rise of open sources like OpenStreetMap. By successfully undergoing the second digital transformation, NMAs can continue to flourish in the coming decades, building upon the growth they have experienced in recent years.
The primary goal of ICA Commission is to facilitate the digital transformation of NMAs in the big data era, while simultaneously tackling the challenges posed by big data and new technologies. We will advocate for and promote innovative mapping approaches in cloud or mobile computing environments, leveraging these new technologies to enhance the quality of maps and data services provided by NMAs for the benefit of users and society.
The mission of the ICA Commission aligns closely with the objectives of other working groups and commissions. We enthusiastically invite collaboration and cooperation from the ICA community and beyond.