Unveiling the diversity of spatial data infrastructures in Latin America: evidence from an exploratory inquiry

Luis M. Vilches-Blázquez, Daniela Ballari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geospatial information has transformed into a primary consumer good in our society. Worldwide, governmental organizations have contributed to this reality through Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs), promoting economic development, stimulating better governance, and fostering environmental sustainability. These initiatives have been settled according to three stages of development. Recently, the community is witnessing an emerging fourth stage in the SDI evolution, because of mainstream Information Technologies (IT), and where different IT trends (such as Big Data, cloud computing, or Semantic Web) are already being integrated as part of SDIs worldwide. Nevertheless, their implementation states change among countries according to the initial context and the Digital Divide. Therefore, it is essential to understand the adoption process characteristics, and especially in Latin America, where no previous evidence about the state of geospatial IT trend adoption is available. This paper contributes to an exploratory inquiry for unveiling the diversity of the fourth SDI generation in the Latin American SDI community. For that, we used an open-regional web-based survey, which was divided into four blocks (trend adoption, standardization, monitoring, and future vision and limitations) and performed three times (2014, 2017, 2018/2019). The results depicted the initial presence of IT trends with a heterogeneity scenario. In this way, some initiatives are exploring the fourth generation, while others remain at different stages between the first and third generations. This work pointed out the need for a regional observatory to allow designing policies and action plans associated with the progress of the fourth SDI generation in Latin America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
StatePublished - 2020


  • exploratory inquiry
  • fourth generation SDI
  • IT trends
  • Latin America
  • Spatial Data Infrastructure

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