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Google claims world economy landed $90bn boost from its mapping tools

31 Jan 2013
Google Maps on smartphone demo

Mapping technology produces $90bn a year boost to wages across the globe, according to a study commissioned by Google.

Google commissioned a study into the social and economic effects of mapping technology. The study was performed by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Oxera. According to the firm's research, mapping tech stimulates economies and saves consumers money.

"It's important we all understand the need to invest in the geo-services industry so it continues to grow and drive the global economy," wrote Google vice president of geo Brian McClendon in a blog post.

"Investments can come from the public and private sectors in many forms - product innovations, support of open data policies, more geography education programmes in schools and more."

The definition of geo-services technology used in the study included satellite receivers and manufactures, electronic maps, GPS, satellite imagery, and location-based search.

Google's study found that the geo-services industry produces $150bn to $270bn a year in revenue. To put that into perspective, Google also reports that the gaming industry generates about $25bn a year in revenue.

The study suggests that the geo-services industry also helps consumers and the environment. According to the study, GPS saves 3.5 billion litres of gasoline a year.

Geo-services were found to save consumers 1.1 billion hours of travel time in a given year. The study also found that geo services technology increases consumer's problem-solving skills.

"Geo-services can provide users with an educational value beyond their conventional use in navigation," read the study.

"Geographic information systems can be considered a useful information technology tool for promoting higher-order thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills."

According to the study, the geo-services industry will continue to grow at a 13 percent rate per year. That yearly increase is expected to continue until 2016.

News of the benefits of GPS comes following the recent release of Apple's own mapping system. Apple's mobile app was much maligned because of its faulty mapping abilities.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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