Skip links
Home » Blog Articles » Unlocking the Potential of Location Data: Insights from the Gaia-X Location Data Space Event

Unlocking the Potential of Location Data: Insights from the Gaia-X Location Data Space Event

We all recognise the value of location data when using mobile maps apps for navigation. However, the significance of location data extends beyond helping us find our way; it acts as a key horizontal enabler across various sectors, enabling the detection and measurement of changes, enhancing business insights, and driving innovation.

The Location Data Space Event, which took place on 27 June, brought together policymakers, researchers, and industry stakeholders to investigate the potential of location data and Gaia-X solutions to transform the data economy. Co-organised by the Gaia-X Association and the Gaia-X Location Ecosystem, the webinar is part of a series shining a spotlight on data sharing in different domains related to the Gaia-X Ecosystems.

Importance of Location Data

Location data, georeferenced information – derived from data generated by space, aerial, and ground assets – amplifies the value of other data when integrated. Piotr Zaborowski, Project Manager at Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) emphasised, “Collective problem solving is enabled by location data… placing the data in its context makes it valuable.”

Ulrich Ahle, CEO at Gaia-X, highlighted significant investments from the EU in Location Data Space projects, including €150 million in the Copernicus Data Space Ecosystem, an earth observation data offering,​ and €240 million in the Destination Earth System, which is developing a digital twin of the Earth. These investments underscore the critical role of location data in the future data economy.

Use Cases

Several practical examples were discussed, illustrating the value of location data across sectors:

  • Digital Twin in Road Infrastructure: An Heirman, Sales & Business Manager at GIM SMART GEO INSIGHTS gave the latest developments in the project bringing together public and private stakeholders in road infrastructure across the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg leveraging digital twin technology to optimise maintenance and planning.
  • Sea Level Rise Mitigation: Dr. Gaël Kermarrec, PostDoc at Leibniz Universität Hannover, shared insights on using location data to address rising sea levels within the context of climate change. By measuring earth’s surface and orientation in space, one can understand where and how much sea levels are rising, informing timely and effective mitigation strategies for coastal areas.
  • Environmental conservation: Thorsten Reitz, Founder and CEO at, presented the InGeo-X Project, highlighting innovative applications of location data in the forestry and energy sectors. This includes monitoring wolves and other protected species of flora and fauna, which involves handling sensitive data to ensure the protection and preservation of these species.

Current challenges

Even with established initiatives in place, speakers noted several challenges that hinder the creation of a Location Data Space: an ecosystem of stakeholders willing to share their data, acting as a ‘two-way bridge’ connecting the geospatial and space communities with various Data Spaces that need information based on location data.

From the research perspective, Dr. Kermarrec pointed out the need for a “store of services” with earth observation data described in a standardised manner. Streamlining data collection would allow researchers to focus on data processing and developing new tools for processing

Jordi Escriu, Scientific Project Officer at the Joint Research Centre, European Commission stressed the importance of exploring interoperability and synergies among location data providers to establish a pan-European data market location. However, current practices are often limited to sharing in local or national contexts.

While OGC Standards have facilitated geospatial data interoperability for decades, challenges remain in “creating networks rather than isolated data islands,” expressed Thorsten Reitz, Founder/CEO at, who emphasised the necessity of shared standards to achieve this goal.

Role of Gaia-X

Gaia-X is a European initiative aimed at creating a federated and secure data infrastructure. By promoting transparency, control, and interoperability, Gaia-X enables different organisations across sectors and countries to share and exchange data safely. The Gaia-X Trust Framework ensures that data is shared under common rules and standards, ensuring trust and sovereignty over data, which is crucial for interoperability. The Gaia-X Trust Framework can be extended by ecosystems, such as the Location Data Space, to create their own specific criteria. These new criteria can be grouped to form a domain or market specific Label.

Are you interested to learn more about Gaia-X and engage in the Location Ecosystem? Reach out to Victor de Vries, Junior Community Manager