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The potential of recent developments in geographic information technology cannot be fully realized without the creation of some form of spatial data infrastructure (SDI). An SDI includes the materials, technology, and people necessary to acquire, process, and distribute geographic information from a great diversity of sources to meet a wide variety of needs. With this in mind, in this entry, the nature of the SDI phenomenon is described, with reference to examples of national, subnational, and supranational applications, and some emerging trends are identified.

The overriding objective of SDIs is to facilitate access to the geographic information assets that are held by a wide range of stakeholders in both the public and the private sectors, with a view to maximizing their overall usage. Coordinated action on ...

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