Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

UN-GGIM Expert Group

Integrating Statistical Geospatial Information

5th April 2018

Draft Summary Report


The following summary report regards the discussions and actions from the United Nations Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information (EG-ISGI), convened over video conference, hosted by the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM). This covered updates since the last meeting in Stockholm, Sweden from 9-10 November 2017, reports from the 49th Statistical Commission held at UNHQ, New York from 6-9 March 2018, progress reports from the working groups of the 5 Principles of the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework, and future business of the Expert Group.

The meeting was attended by 24 participants from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States of America, as well as by representatives from Eurostat, UNFPA, and the UN-GGIM Secretariat. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Martin Brady (Australia) and Ms. Paloma Merodio (Mexico).

The Expert Group welcomed Paloma Merodio who has been appointed by Mexico as their new representative in their current tenure of one of the Co-Chair positions for the Expert Group.


Outcomes from 4th Expert Group meeting

Lead: Martin Brady, Australia


The Fourth Meeting of the United Nations Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information (EG-ISGI) was convened in Stockholm, Sweden from 9-10 November 2017 and hosted by Statistics Sweden. The EG-ISGI meeting followed on from the joint UNECE/UN-GGIM: Europe Workshop on Integration of Geospatial and Statistical Standards, held from 6-8 November 2017, and hosted by Statistics Sweden. The EG-ISGI was attended by 29 participants as well by representatives from the Eurostat, UNSD, UNECA, UNECE, UNFPA and ESRI. The meeting was Co-Chaired by Mr. Martin Brady (Australia) and Ms. Ana De Lara (Mexico).


The objective of the meeting was to create an opportunity to review and consider the recent (2016 and 2017) decisions of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) and the United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) relating to the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework (GSGF), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2020 round of Population Censuses, and the activities and priorities of the Expert Group going forward.


In Summary, the Expert Group:

  • Recognised strong support for the GSGF and the work of the expert group;
  • Need to grow the level of understanding within the geospatial community and promote the utility of the GSGF at international, regional and national events;

Need to focus on elaborating the details underpinning the five principles of the framework so it may be used effectively in national implementation;

Strongly supported the outcomes of the workshop on the integration of geospatial and statistical standards, endorsed the future work and collaboration activities identified at the workshop, agreed to contribute where possible and encouraged other international organizations and countries to also contribute to those projects;

  • Need to engage internationally to the support the 2020 Round of Censuses and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to demonstrate the role of the GSGF to support this work;
  • Agreed to mechanisms that will broaden the scope of the Expert Group, as it becomes the overall coordination group for all activities in the integration of statistical and geospatial information.
  • Work to operationalise the GSGF;  need to work on producing specific detail in the GSGF principle templates;
  • Will work with the IAEG-SGGs WGGI regarding disaggregation, to consult on user requirements and to evaluate the GSGF;
  • Extend the use of case studies within the use of the GSGF to aid in communications of the Expert Group and its outputs. Link:;
  • Thanks to Sweden for hosting and Greg Scott for the meeting report;
  • Members are encouraged to read the report:


49th Session UN Statistical Commission and Statistical Geospatial Forum Outcomes

Lead: Greg Scott, UN-GGIM

On 5th of March at UNHQ in New York, the Expert Group supported the Statistical-Geospatial Integration Forum at the 49th Statistical Commission, with the theme “Integrating Statistical, Geospatial, and Other Big Data to Leave No-one Behind”. This forum reinforced the need for statistical/geospatial integration with the GSGF as a major framework.

In Summary:

  • The GSGF is a common method for geospatially enabling statistical and administrative data, ensuring that this data can be integrated with geospatial information;
  • The report of the Expert Group was tabled for information to the Statistical Commission, when tabled there were no questions - which is a good sign that there are no concerns. The Report of the Expert Group on the Integration of Statistical and Geospatial Information which was for information is here:
  • Thanks to Greg Scott and UNSD for organising and Marie Haldorson for delivering many of the presentations;
  • Action: UNSD circulate report with meeting notes

Global Statistical Geospatial Framework Principles Working Group Progress Reports

Lead: Paloma Merodio, Mexico


The discussion received reports from the various working groups of the 5 Principles of the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework.


Principle 1

  • Lead countries – Germany, Mexico and Brazil;
  • Kathrin Gerber from Germany reported that we are making progress and updating the template content - in the process of translating Mexico’s input for inclusion and a Draft has been circulated to WebEx meeting attendees;
  • General discussion occurred about assistance with translating documents, which will mean they can be used more widely in a greater variety of country contexts;
  • It is suggested that Regional Groups may be able to access in-country capabilities to translate into appropriate languages as it is challenging for the Secretariat to translate technical documents – assistance from ISGI members is greatly appreciated for this.

Principle 2

  • Lead countries – Australia and Sweden;
  • Martin Brady from Australia reported that we can work through what pieces of infrastructure are already there and for us to reuse. It is important to recognise that much data comes from across government, not just statistical agencies. Through our work on the GSGF templates we can encourage various stakeholder groups to think more broadly than the statistics/geospatial divide.
  • Noted the need to produce common terminology and definitions, this will help bridge the communities;
  • Template is well progressed but not yet complete;
  • Suggested that templates should address different pathways including defining an optimal pathway. E.g. Location and regional information pathways diagram in Principle 2 draft template;
  • Requested feedback on the template as well as content for Principle 2;
  • Concern was expressed that there were a lot of gaps and content that is not covered by standards.  It was explained that this is the job of the EG: to identify gaps and work collaboratively to find or encourage solutions and share this knowledge;
  • We should consider that the GSGF is a framework so countries can choose which bits they use; the GSGF cannot be overly prescriptive, but country case studies and shared experience can assist other countries with implementing the framework and its 5 Principles the most here.

Principle 3

  • Lead countries – Poland and Canada;
  • Janusz Dygaszewicz from Poland reported that they are focusing how to divide territory, considering administrative, statistical, and grid division. This includes harmonising geography and statistics. Exemplars, include Poland’s 10 levels model;
  • The working group is also considering how to use common geographies for the dissemination of SDG indicators. We are awaiting input from the USA as we would like to include the work USA were doing on pros and cons of grids as grids are popular in Europe;
  • Action: USA to send Poland/the Working Group copies of any of the work done regarding gridding;
  • Action: Australia to send Poland the template;

Principle 4

  • Lead orgs – Eurostat/ENECE;
  • Ekkhardt Petri from Eurostat reported that the working group has started transferring notes into the template. The working group will work on producing the template by the end of the month - we are considering how to achieve consistency within the template too;
  • Sweden requested a short description supporting disaggregation, can this be included within this document or include references to where this would be found – such as Principle 3;
  • Action: Australia will review and provide some guidance on consistency;
  • Action: Chairs encourage all working groups to complete templates first and then harmonise;
  • Action – Eurostat will consider disaggregation in Principle 3 and raise this within the Expert Group.

Principle 5

  • Lead countries – UK and US;
  • Ian Coady from the United Kingdom was unable to attend;
  • Action – UK and US to reconnect and provide an update.


Specifying the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework

Martin Brady, Australia

This discussion covered the creation of the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework and the steps towards its development as a formal document and future. In Summary:

  • It’s important to recognise that both UNSC and GGIM adopted the 5 Principles of the GSGF.
  • In the short term, we should provide simple updates to the original proposal document - and can place language that anchors the GSGF to the 2030 agenda and the 2020 round of census, as well as update current national examples and add the Sweden implementation plan.
  • From this, over the longer term, we can expand on the Principles, using the work on the Principle templates and the related work on detailed aspects. 
  • Then, conduct consultation and work towards formal adoption of the framework;
  • Further reports from individual countries, can be compiled into national examples that can be used to support countries in the implementation of the framework;
  • Australia: I propose that we finalise the Principle documents before the informal meeting of the Expert Group at GGIM8 in the end of July/August. We should have the templates ready two weeks prior to GGIM8 (July 14th). We would circulate to Expert Group Members two weeks following GGIM8 (August 18th), then finalise the documents a month after this consultation process (September 15th). Australia will also work on a document that updates the original GSGF proposal document. We will work to produce the first draft of this by the start of May and circulate this for comment;
  • Australia: The GSGF is a framework, not a prescriptive process. We can provide country exemplars to support countries with implementation. We should recognise that other countries, not involved with the expert group may find this challenging as they will not be as well versed with the 5 Principles of the GSGF. Consequently, the endorsement of the overall framework is a priority too;
  • EG-ISGI members agreed;
  • Action: Principle Working Groups will produce the 1st complete draft of their GSGF Principle templates, which are to be submitted by the Principle Working Group Leads to the UNSD and Co-chairs 2 weeks (14 July) before UN-GGIM8 and will be discussed at the informal meeting at UN-GGIM8;
  • Action: South Africa would like to contribute to Principle 5.

Update on work on the OGC Statistical Domain Working Group

Lead: Martin Brady, Australia

The EG-ISGI was approached by OGC regarding Statistical/Geospatial standards and interoperability following the Stockholm workshop. We are looking how to activate the work of OGC in standards, and then leverage those opportunities to make progress with our work. In Summary:

  • Ian Coady (UK) has volunteered to lead a Geospatial/Statistical Working Group within the OGC, with the participation of Stephen Vale at UN Economic Commission for Europe;
  • There is a charter within OGC for this, it started with a preliminary discussion on interfacing with the technical work of the OGC, including interfacing with differing communities, such as meteorology. There are a lot of overlaps between these communities and good opportunities to access solutions and experience already applied.
  • Their has been concerns over too many groups in the area of integration or statistical and geospatial – but this group seen as an avenue for engagement and leveraging work of another active group to support the work of the EG, with strong EG member engagement.
  • Action: send Jørn Undelstvedt of Norway the attendee list


Planning for UNGGIM8

Lead: Greg Scott, UN-GGIM

GGIM 8 will be from 30th July – 3rd August 2018, at UNHQ in New York. In Summary:

  • There will be back to back meetings – Integration side event (open) and EG meeting (closed)
  • OGC statistics domain working group will follow
  • The expert group summary is due 23 May and actual report is due in June but will be required much sooner
  • UNSC report will be the basis of the UN-GGIM report
  • Action: UNSD to work with chairs on a draft and circulate to members for input

World Data Forum

Lead: Paloma Merodio, Mexico

  • Proposed 5th meeting of the Expert Group to be held in conjunction with the World Data Forum in Dubai. We are looking at options for a host for this face to face meeting, as we were unable to secure any room at the same Data Forum venue, as it is a commercial Conference venue.

Next Meeting

We propose our next meeting to be either Thursday 21 or Thursday 28 June, for which we request you let us know your availability for those dates.


Meeting Ended