Top Technologies of the Geospatial Industry

Have you ever wondered which technologies power Google Maps or your mobile phone’s location services? Have you ever wondered how scientists can warn people about an incoming earthquake or volcanic eruption? The answers lie in the application of global positioning systems and remote sensing.

Geospace is the combined area of Earth’s upper atmosphere and nearby outer space. Geospatial technology is used to survey Earth’s terrains to chart maps and detect seismic activity.

Early explorers sailed on boats and hiked mountainous terrain to chart maps, an endeavor which now utilizes satellite technology. The way we chart our surroundings has evolved throughout the centuries and innovations in geospatial development continue to make our lives easier. 

Let’s take a deeper look at how tech innovations have changed the geospatial industry and what you can do to contribute to the progress of analyzing the planet we live on.

Global Positioning Systems

GPS refers to the use of satellites to survey locations on Earth. The technology was first developed by the United States Armed Forces during the early days of the Cold War. 

According to Popular Mechanics, the US did not intend to release the technology to the public, but things changed after a fighter jet downed a South Korean passenger plane that drifted into prohibited Soviet airspace in 1983.

The downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 killed all 246 passengers and 23 crew aboard the plane. Afterwards, US President Ronald Reagan realized the incident could have been prevented and just 16 days later authorized the limited use of GPS technology for the public.

The use of the technology has since evolved and contributed greatly to the geospatial industry. GPS has helped mankind not only in warfare, but also in disaster relief. GPS technology is now utilized in rescue operations, cartography and exploration.

If you are interested in refining the technology, then consider learning computer science, a discipline that will help you chart your career in GPS development.

Remote Sensing

Remote sensing refers to the scanning of Earth by satellite or aircraft to obtain spatial information. Even though the technology is used for warfare, it also has commercial applications.

According to Reuters, researchers uncovered the largest and oldest-known structure built by the ancient Maya civilization using aerial remote-sensing earlier this month. The researchers told the news agency the structure was not built of stone, but of clay and earth.

“Because it is so large horizontally, if you walk on it, it just looks like natural landscape,” one archaeologist said. “But its form comes out nicely in LIDAR.”

The researcher was referring to the use of light detection and ranging (LIDAR), a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of Earth.

LIDAR uses lasers to measure variable distances to Earth and these light pulses, along with other data, generate three-dimensional information about the shape of Earth and its surface.

If you are interested in learning more about remote sensing, consider becoming a data scientist to help other researchers find more hidden archaeological spots.


Mankind has come a long way since the golden age of exploration. Researchers now use GPS and remote sensing to make scientific advances. The geospatial industry relies on the development of these two technologies.

If you are keen on learning more about this field, there are many resources available and you should consider attending a bootcamp. You must also consider the importance of software engineers to this industry. You can easily learn more about entering this field and be on your way in no time.

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