Geospatial Systems Architect

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Spatial Systems Architect in Deutsch

This page describes the profile of a Geospatial Systems Architect, a highly specialized niche.

A Geospatial Systems Architects designs, plans and organizes the infrastructure required to create, maintain and provide geospatial data including analysis, processing and publishing tools.


What is a Geospatial Systems Architect?

A Geospatial Systems Architects designs, plans and organizes the infrastructure required to create, maintain and provide geospatial data including analysis, processing and publishing tools.

"Geospatial Systems" often use or are based on Spatial Data Infrastructures. One type of "buildings" using this infrastructure are Web applications based on the Internet. The infrastructure itself is widely unaware of the maintained data and derived information. The information design is independent of the underlying infrastructure. The technology layer is independent of the information design and the infrastructure layer. This consistent separation of concerns allows to design the information model to best suit the requirements of the corresponding domain.

Further Definitions

This section looks into each of the three terms individually and compares several defintions available on the Web. The next section will outline the development of geospatial or geographic information technologies in general and shows in which domains the Geospatial Systems Architect is at home. There are several definitions available on the Web. They have been copied here for convenience, please check the original links for correct attribution and updates.

Definition for Geospatial

"Geospatial" is not to be confused with GIS.

Dictionary at

geospatial  (ˌdʒiːəʊˈspeɪʃəl) 
  • adj
  • of or relating to the relative position of things on the earth's surface

English Wikipedia

Note: The Wikipedia article has recently been redicrected to "Geospatial Analysis". Geospatial is a term widely used to describe the combination of spatial software and analytical methods with terrestrial or geographic datasets.

GIS centric interpretation of Geospatial

An older definition of Geospatial showing a strong bias towards traditional GIS and software, mixing up the definitions of information and data and adding a superfluous real-time aspect:

"Geospatial information" is simply data concerning a place, collected in real time. 
Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geospatial information can now 
be layered and analyzed to understand complex situations like economic trends, natural
disasters, ocean levels, military action, or even population shifts. 

Open Geospatial Consortium

Geospatial: Referring to location relative to the Earth's surface. "Geospatial" is more precise in many GI contexts than "geographic," because geospatial information is often used in ways that do not involve a graphic representation, or map, of the information.

Other definitions

  • Pertaining to the geographic characteristics of natural or constructed features and boundaries on, above, or below the earth’s surface.
  • Spatial data, concepts, and techniques that specifically refer to geographic space or phenomena, and not just to arbitrary coordinate systems or abstract space frames.

Definition for Systems

The definition of a System is pretty straight forward - one would expect...

English Wikipedia

System (from Latin systēma, in turn from Greek σύστημα systēma, "whole compounded of several parts or members, system", literary "composition") is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole.

  1. A set of detailed methods, procedures, and routines established or formulated to carry out a specific activity, perform a duty, or solve a problem.
  2. An organized, purposeful structure regarded as a whole and consisting of interrelated and interdependent elements (components, entities, factors, members, parts etc.). These elements continually influence one another (directly or indirectly) to maintain their activity and the existence of the system, in order to achieve the goal of the system.

  1. an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole: a mountain system; a railroad system.
  2. any assemblage or set of correlated members: a system of currency; a system of shorthand characters.
  3. an ordered and comprehensive assemblage of facts, principles, doctrines, or the like in a particular field of knowledge or thought: a system of philosophy.
  4. a coordinated body of methods or a scheme or plan of procedure; organizational scheme: a system of government.
  5. any formulated, regular, or special method or plan of procedure: a system of marking, numbering, or measuring; a winning system at bridge.


1610–20; < Late Latin systēma < Greek sýstēma whole compounded of several parts, equivalent to sy- sy- + stē- (variant stem of histánai to cause to stand; akin to Latin stāre to stand) + -ma noun suffix denoting result of action.

Definition for Architect

English Wikipedia

An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of (buildings...). To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of (a building...) Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, itself derived from the Greek arkhitekton (arkhi-, chief + tekton, builder), i.e. chief builder.

Qualified professional who designs and supervises the construction of buildings or other structures. More precicely this type of architect works on information, which s defined as:

  • Data that has been verified to be accurate and timely, is specific and organized for a purpose, is presented within a context that gives it meaning and relevance, and that can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty.
  • The value of information lies solely in its ability to affect a behavior, decision, or outcome. A piece of information is considered valueless if, after receiving it, things remain unchanged.
  • In information theory basic data communication theory applies to the technical processes of encoding a signal for transmission, and provides a statistical description of the message produced by the code. It defines information as choice or entropy and treats the 'meaning' of a message (in the human sense) as irrelevant. Proposed together by the US mathematicians Claude Shannon (1916-2001) and Warren Weaver (1894-1978) in 1949, it focuses on how to transmit data most efficiently and economically, and to detect errors in its transmission and reception.