GeoCymru 2022 – Wales Outdoors: Supporting Health and Wellbeing

2022 saw the first face to face annual conference in 2 years and it was great to catch up with over 60 members of the Welsh Geospatial community in person to look at the importance the outdoors plays in our health.

The presentations were opened by our Platinum sponsor CGI who covered the topic of seabed to space looking at the threats to seagrass ecosystems and the knock-on effect that this has on human health. Maintaining a balance between rapidly available accurate data from open source, commercial data, high resolution imagery and monitoring from space provides an early picture of problems such as pollution to habitats but also helps identify new species that provide benefits to the environment and by understanding and managing our environment effectively can provide both health benefits and make a positive difference to our planet.

Keynote Speaker Glyn Jones, Chief Digital Officer at Welsh Government, focussed on the digital agenda in Wales and how using geospatial data for effective decision making and analysis is a key strategy for Welsh Government. Referring to Active Travel, the location of the National Forest and how increasing digital skills in geospatial data  improves the lives of everyone in Wales, this can be brought about through collaborative innovation and better public services. Glyn also spoke about geospatial data being at the heart of  education and of  the role of DataMapWales plays in providing key data and services that underpin health and wellbeing in Wales.

This set the tone for our community talks which covered a wide range of topics including the National Forest, The Cambrian Way, Wales Infrastructure Data Hub and support for those using geographical skills in the workplace. We also heard from our Gold sponsors Verisk, Environmental System, Europa Technologies and Ordnance Survey, who talked about better housing crucial to our health and covid recovery, tourism versus preservation of natural habitats and the fusion of geography and data science in understanding the lie of the land.