For historical reasons, I'm trying to figure out when the term "geospatial" came into use? The earliest usages I can find are from around 1994, but I would be really surprised if it wasn't used earlier. Please share references, if you have them.
The Google Books NGram dataset is a perfect way to answer this - it shows the frequency of words or phrases in the Google Books corpus (basically all text in all books, journals, magazines etc that Google have digitised) from 1800 until 2008).
The graph plotted here shows the first usage of
geospatial in the corpus in 1974 to be exact, with a rapid increase in usage starting in 1992.
geo-spatial has significantly less usage overall, but this started to rise in the early 1980s.
The Oxford English Dictionary has as its earliest usage1 :
1970 Annals of the Association of American Geographers 60 217/2 Geospatial systems have been conceptualized as having two basic kinds of components: 1) Spatial structural components; and 2) spatial interaction components.
1 paywall, but note that a UK library membership is probably enough...
According to this Amazon book search, the first books published related to "geo-spatial" or "geospatial" were around 1991 (at least that are sold on Amazon...)
I also found this over at GIS Lounge, which was pretty interesting and informative about the history of GIS and geospatial technologies.
I've been in the business since 1976. I first heard the term from two people who claimed to have coined it in the 90s. Rationale was that they were looking for a word that emphasized the precision needed for geographic analysis. Geospatial was intended to convey a greater level of spatial precision within GIS and Geographic Analysis. The follow-on term, Geospatial-Intelligence made its way into the names of several national government organizations