Scientific technological convergence, development of advanced technology, and widespread cross-border collaboration are emerging as megatrends nowadays, signaling a fundamental change in the field of terrestrial management. This change is taking the form of terrestrial utilization focusing on disaster prevention and safety through a combination of high technology with social overhead capital.
Under the circumstances, the Korean government is planning to propose new visions, strategies, and action plans based on land use predictions incorporating the megatrends. Specifically, these will cover the living standards of the public, measures for creating new living spaces in urban areas, digitalization of city transportation, development of everyday living services, and the improvement of industrial and logistical infrastructure.
Similar measures were prepared by previous governments, but the previous plans concentrated on economic and social aspects rather than national land management. The incumbent administration, however, is going to come up with long-term strategies focusing on effective and systematic land management in the framework of the new national land development schemes.
In this context, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport set this year as the first year for the growth of the spatial information industry. It is going to set up a comprehensive basic plan for national spatial information policy and implement it in a phased manner until 2018. In 2014 alone, the central government spent 212.97 billion won (US$206.9 million) on 61 spatial data projects, and local governments used 81.64 billion won (US$79.3 million) of budget for 324 projects. The number of projects and the size of the budget increased by 39 and 2.1 billion won (US$2.0 million) from the previous year, respectively.
The domestic spatial information industry is still at its early stage. The sector is still filled with small businesses, although the government included the sector in the category of special industries last year. 44 percent of the 4,487 companies in it have four or fewer employees each, and the percentage shoots up to 94 percent when businesses with 50 or more employees are excluded. The total sales of the industry accounts for just 0.4 percent of the national GDP. 72 percent of the hardware and 80 percent of the software used in spatial data systems, such as those for u-City and intellectual transportation, are imported ones.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport recently announced that 4,487 companies recorded combined sales of 5.4411 trillion won (US$5.2862 billion) as of the end of last year. That was the result of the first survey conducted by the government in the spatial information sector. According to it, the technical service business represented 46.3 percent of the gross sales, followed by publishing and information service (29.2 percent) and the related wholesale business (11.0 percent).
During the same year, 1.4 trillion won (US$1.36 billion) was produced in added value. The ratio of the added value to the sales was 25.49 percent, which was slightly higher than the overall industry average of 24.33 percent. 57.6 percent of the sales was posted in the private sector and the number of employees in the industry totaled approximately 43,000, with 9,751 persons newly hired in 2012. 53.2 percent of the workers were 39 years old or younger, while the ratio was 38.9 percent for entire industries.
The government has suggested four key strategies in order to promote the growth of the sector, which are divided into those relating to platform development, spatial data advancement, spatial big data utilization, and ecosystem creation. First of all, the platform strategy is based on the national integrated spatial data management system that has been established by collecting the pieces of data scattered in government arms and public organizations. The system provides basic spatial information such as cadastral, building, road, and railroad network data and administrative maps for urban, sewage and water supply planning. The maps are available on an open platform basis.
“The basic ideas of the platform are openness, sharing, collaboration, and convergence,” said Director General Park Moo-ik, who is in charge of national land information policy at the Ministry, adding, “The inter-organization cooperation and convergence will be expanded during the course of the production, management, distribution, and use of spatial data, examples of which include the open platform V World and the Onnara portal providing a wide variety of real estate certificates.”
In terms of spatial data advancement, the government focuses on the establishment of 3D and indoor spatial information systems this year, which will be provided for the public under the name of “V World,” once built. “The system comes with automatic and immediate updates, and the function will be of great help for SOC construction and project life cycle control,” he explained.
Also, the government will develop a satellite launch vehicle by 2018 to put a dedicated satellite into orbit while working on land information management systems making use of satellite data and spending 1.3 trillion won (US$1.26 billion) by 2030 to complete cadastral resurveys. The resurveys carried out for the first time in 100 years are expected to have positive effects on property rights protection, conflict prevention, and the development of geospatial data convergence models.
The government develops spatial big data models, too. The system is scheduled to be established this year after the completion of strategic planning. In the first phase, analysis is slated for 15 types of big data covering real estate, transportation, water resources, and the like. 40 types including road networks and transport logistics will be added in 2015, and 25 more will be added in 2016.
During the ecosystem creation, the focus of the industry has shifted from production and management to processing and distribution, and then to convergence. It has also shifted from government-to-business (G2B) to business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). “Specialized colleges, graduate schools, and high schools will be used for manpower cultivation and start-up promotion centers will be set up to support new firms, while overseas business assistance and surveycadastral convergence are expanded,” the director continued.
Laws Revised for Systematic Growth of Spatial Information Industry
In the meantime, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport recently announced that the revisions to the Basic Act on Spatial Information, the Spatial Data Industry Promotion Act, and the Act on the Establishment and Management of Spatial Information passed the plenary session of the National Assembly and were fixed at the Cabinet meeting so as to enhance the competitiveness of the sector as a new growth driver.
The Basic Act on Spatial Information covers the organization and operation of the National Spatial Data Committee, and the revised bill carries measures for sound development of the industrial segments such as cadastral surveying. According to it, the Korea Cadastral Survey Corporation will be renamed into the Korea Land Information Corporation for enhanced public functions in technological development, standardization, and overseas business support, and will transfer some surveying functions to the private sector.
Plus, the Spatial Information Industry Promotion Institute has been turned into a statutory agency by the Spatial Data Industry Promotion Act, and the Korean Association of Surveying & Mapping and the Korea Cadastral Association have been combined with each other into the Korea Spatial Information Industry Association for more effective collaboration.
The compilation of related statistics is expected to be carried out in a more systematic way, too. For instance, the “Act on Land Survey, Waterway Survey and Cadastral Records has been re-titled the Act on Establishment and Management of Spatial Information, stipulating details about the standards, procedures, and management of survey records.
Director General Park said, “The recent legal revision will expand the public function of the Korea Land Information Corporation, and the industry participants will be given opportunities for synergy, which will lead to the higher competitiveness and growth potential of the industry.”