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Sam Drummond

Meet the Chair of LocationTech Sam Drummond

Sam Drummond replaces former Spatial Innovation Business Association (SIBA) Chair, Anne Harper who has resigned from the role after a successful six year tenure. Sam is part of the new generation of Location Professionals looking to expand the footprint of geospatial beyond the traditional market segments, into new industries where the potential for location analytics have yet to be fully realised.

Please find a few Question and Answers from Sam Drummond.

Q1: Sam, please share your vision for LocationTech in the coming months and years?

LocationTech’s purpose is empowering innovation with location-based technology.  We are doing this by establishing LocationTech as the voice of location technology and spatial intelligence in New Zealand.

From my perspective, SIBA was good at supporting businesses who had a core capability leveraging GIS data and software.  However, location-based technology is now more pervasive. There are so many New Zealand organisations innovating with location technology that perhaps don’t realise we are here to support them.  Whether they are experimenting with plotting their customers as dots on a Google map, routing driverless vehicles, tracking COVID-19 cases or training machine learning to identify carbon sinks; they are all creating solutions that depend on location. 

I want to see LocationTech expand to empower innovation with location-based technology in all aspects of New Zealand’s technology ecosystem.

Q2: How do you think the spatial industry is changing and what does this mean for our members?

Previously,  I said location technology has become pervasive across all aspects of our daily lives, from apps on our phones to planning travel based on real-time traffic data.  Increasingly, location technology is creating most of the world’s big data and information.    

For the last few years I’ve felt uncomfortable calling it a spatial industry. There is an industry, but it’s niche, focussed on a group of professionally trained geographers and scientists, using specialist analysis technology.  This expertise is extremely important, perhaps more so than many using location-technology understand.  However, it’s not the full extent of the spatial industry.  Even the word spatial is niche! So, while it may only seem like a semantic change, I believe the ‘location-technology’ industry is far more encompassing.

We live in an era where most of us are surrounded and carrying location-data creating machines.  Your car, your phone, even your vacuum cleaner are creating huge amounts of data that can be used to make better decisions and improve the lives of New Zealanders. 

For our members, this means there has never been a better opportunity to use location technology for good.  However, there has also never been a time where it is crucial  to collaborate  and ensure location technology is used productively to help our society.

Q3: LocationTech is the newest member of the New Zealand Tech Alliance.  What would you say to existing Tech Alliance members to encourage them to join LocationTech? 

Put simply, I’m always amazed at how a little bit of location information can provide huge insights!    Other organisations in the tech ecosystem can benefit tremendously from using location technology too.   It could be as little as knowing your customers’ addresses to big data insights.

Q4: LocationTech is seeking new executive members. What does this involve?

LocationTech is currently in  its establishment phase, so there are several opportunities to be involved and help set the direction and develop momentum for the coming years.   

 As part of the  Establishment Council, we have responsibility for key focus areas and contribute to others, including:

  • Work programme
  • Events
  • Marketing
  • Capability
  • Membership

Formally, we meet once a month as a council.  However, we are in regular contact throughout the month through chat, email and phone to progress tasks and action items.  I encourage members to seriously consider how they can be actively involved and contact us to find out more.

Q5: LocationTech exists for its members and community, how can we directly support our patrons?

If you would like LocationTech to lobby a specific industry, share an article, attract event attendees or would like other support, please contact us directly.  We can share news and events in our monthly newsletter, on our website and across our social media channels. 

Please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Sam Drummond