The Science of Data Acquisition II: The Geospatial Perspective

Milsat Technologies
4 min readSep 24, 2021


Understanding the ‘where’ components of data is an integral element to its usefulness. From time immemorial, the location component of items and persons has always been at the center of crucial decisions.

When acquiring data, the intent of the project drives the modus operandi. However, the location element enhances the comprehensive judgment of the data for individuals or groups that weren’t involved in the acquisition process. Consequently, when data that possess accurate location attributes are acquired, the ‘where’ reference qualifies them as Spatial data.

What is Spatial Data?

In simple terms, spatial data is data about a location, structure, or other objects in physical space. It can include attributes such as the latitude and longitude of a form, the size, and the shape of features on Earth. Notably, every element that occupies a position possesses a location reference. However, it is essential to note that the data acquisition needs broadly determine if the spatial component of a data will be of interest.

What determines the components of interest of a Data acquisition process?

Data needs: The specific data needs determine the considerations for the acquisition process- Why are these data required? Of what purpose are they?

Cost: For any project in the world, the budget is integral to the overall operation. In data acquisition, it is often cheaper to use secondary data than acquire primary data.

Data type and currency: For many kinds of work, the data need to be pretty current. For some, data may need to cover a specified period. For others, data needs to be in a specific season.

Spatial Data acquisition

It is considered that about 80 percent of all organizational information possesses a location element, either referenced by address or coordinates. Therefore, there is a growing demand for access to accurate geospatial data for decision-making processes at all levels. The need premises on the notion that better resourced; and informed communities can effectively address critical, social, environmental, and economic issues with accurate spatial data.

Spatial data acquisition describes the methods, processes, and actions combined across the board to collect multifaceted information while emphasizing their ‘where’ element. It highlights the data collection project from the idea phase to the execution stage. Consequently, several channels can be explored when acquiring spatial data depending on the available instruments and expertise. The sources and methods used can affect the accuracy of the spatial database or repository and the validity of the recommendation developed after the acquisition process.

World geo data

The Sources and Methods

Surveying: Surveying is an age-long method for spatial data collection. It is a constantly evolving field that has seamlessly answered all questions poised regarding the spatial reference of any data. In recent times, it has become enhanced by the evolution of GIS and its technologies. Surveyors and Geoinformation experts can now acquire data using mobile GIS applications while maintaining or improving the accuracy standard. Through geospatial software and applications, surveyors can enter data directly, take measurements, and obtain instantaneous positions without the need for heavy machinery.

Remote Sensing: Remote Sensing is another fascinating technology playing a crucial role in the spatial data acquisition field. The development and deployment of satellites, UAVs, and drones capable of acquiring high-resolution images have revolutionized the science of spatial data acquisition. Consequently, technologies such as hyperspectral and multispectral imaging have triggered a new level of data variety. Multiple scenes of image data have open doors to efficiently acquire information regarding natural resources, terrain information, and phenomena position.

Data Repositories: Sourcing data is a dynamic act. When the needs of the spatial data acquisition process are objectively listed, secondary sourcing could be the best fit. Data repositories are a network of third-party sources that allow project managers, surveyors, or Geoinformation experts to draw data from their rich databases. Numerous government agencies like NASA, DOD; private organizations like Planet labs, Milsat Technologies provide a range of information related to several themes that are relevant to study.

Spatial Reference and data definition

The Geospatial perspective of data acquisition enables us to explore the bigger picture of data variety. However, acquiring data with specific strengths and needs requires the location element to attain maximum use across the board. Thus, without exploring the geospatial component of data, optimal data definition becomes uphill.



Milsat Technologies

We design and develop geospatial solutions that make data acquisition and access easy for businesses and groups in Africa