Modern societies face numerous challenges, and in varying degrees, all of them involve location, because almost everything of concern to society ultimately has a locational dimension. Therefore, location is increasingly regarded as the fourth driver in national decision-making, in addition to social, economic and environmental drivers. Societies and their governments now require the right geospatial (geographically referenced; i.e., locational) information and tools in order to respond to the national agenda and achieve sustainable development.
A nation's most fundamental geospatial information is the information that describes the location and characteristics of its natural and man-made features, such as mountains, wadis, coastlines, islands, roads, buildings, pipelines and so forth. This geospatial information is a critical input for national planning and management, as well as the provision of services by both the government and private sectors.
Geospatial information is collected through topographic (terrestrial) and hydrographic (marine) surveys, and referenced to a coordinate system that is defined through geodetic surveys. In recognition of the essential national requirement for a central agency to provide geospatial information and positional services covering the Kingdom's territorial extents, the Saudi government established the General Commission for Survey (GCS).
The GCS vision is to be the benchmark organization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for surveying, mapping, geographical information and hydrography.
As the leading national organization in surveying, mapping, charting, geographical information and hydrographic survey, the GCS mission centers around:
- The production and marketing of geo-spatial survey information and services.
- Improving relevant technologies.
- High quality manpower training and development.
- Cooperation with GCS partners to meet user and decision-maker requirements.
- Identify requirements for mandated geodetic, topographic and hydrographic surveys.
- Establish standards and technical specifications for mandated geodetic, topographic and hydrographic surveys, and geospatial information production and dissemination.
- Identify, organize and monitor all mandated survey activities, mapping, production of geographical information and production of hydrographic data and information in accordance with national requirements.
- Establish and maintain the databases needed to support the GCS core mission.
- Execute, or authorize and oversee all national aerial surveys.
- Establish, maintain, and monitor national geodetic reference systems and control networks.
- Supply, market and support mandated products and services.
- Conduct research and development needed to address emerging national requirements.
- Develop human resources to meet the standards required for mandated activities in geodetic, topographic and hydrographic surveys, and geospatial information production and dissemination.
- Increase public awareness of GCS activities in geodetic, topographic and hydrographic surveys, and geospatial information production and dissemination.
- Identify and promote the strategic partnerships that are needed to promote GCS mandated objectives.
- In order to support GCS core values, continually improve organizational and technical capabilities through performance centered leadership.