Professor Tim Foresman

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Harnessing spatial-digital disruptive technologies for stakeholder prosperity and sustainability

SIBA Chair in Spatial Information at the Queensland University of Technology


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5 Things You Will Learn

1. Elements that comprise digital disruptive technologies
2. Introduction to the three Pivotal Principles for the 21st Century
3. Understanding of how the Second Law of Geography impacts business
4. Concrete examples of the financial and operational benefits from the Second Law
5. An innovative perspective for an organisation to harness the spatial-digital revolution

Target Audience

Business and government practitioners who wish to better understand the Future Shock of the spatial-digital revolution.

Presentation Overview

Disruptive technologies experienced over the past couple decades include smartphones, smart buildings, smart meters, broadband network and communications, cloud computing, analytics for complex big data, visualisation, and the explosion of social media. The media hype around these disruptive technologies is that these are explosive and immediate forces that rock the foundations of the business and government communities. Businesses will fail and governments will be voted out of office is the implied threat for those not digitally literate or up on the latest app. The truth of our collective future is more strategic with expectations for a significant boost in economic benefits and utility advantages to those who harness the spatial-digital disruptive revolution.

This spatial-digital technology revolution gains its prowess in accordance with the Second Law of Geography, which states: “Objects that know where they are can capitalize on their locational knowledge. Whether the object knows, or an external agent knows, spatially enabled entities have potential for financial and functional utility”. This Second Law provides an explanation for a force multiplier expansion phenomenon in the digital age. This business performance boost is based on capitalising the locational attributes of corporate and government assets. Full capitalisation becomes evident when operated in a spatially-enabled enterprise and can and does provide profound ROIs and expanded business opportunities. Qualitative and quantitative examples will be shared along with the Pivotal Principles for harnessing the potential of the spatial-digital era. These Principles provide for a comprehensive management philosophy regarding data policies, operations, and engagement with key stakeholders. This presentation will enable members of the spatial community an innovative perspective requisite for strategic decision making in a disruptive age.


Professor Tim Foresman is the SIBA Chair in Spatial Information at the Queensland University of Technology. He has served many government agencies including the US Marine Corps at the Pentagon , the US EPA, and NASA.

He served as the United Nations’ chief environmental scientist with the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. At NASA Headquarters he was the national manager for the Digital Earth Initiative under Vice President Al Gore, which led to many developments, including Google Earth. He continues to be an advocate for the use of scientific visualization technology and spatial information systems (Earth Observation, GIS, Big Data Analytics) and engaging citizens through innovative social media for community-based decision support and digital democracy. His current interests include targeting the integration of advanced technologies in engineering, planning, clean energy and operations for a prosperous and sustainab le future.