Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB is working internationally as an advisor and special contributor to a number of organisations, including as the Senior Strategic Global Advisor for Geospatial for the World Bank Group based in Washington DC and as the Strategic Advisor to the National Geospatial Information Committee of Saudi Arabia. She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Satellite Applications Catapult based at Harwell whose focus is fostering innovation in the use of satellite data.
From 2000-2014, Vanessa was the Director General and CEO of Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s national mapping authority. She was in post for 14 years and is the longest serving Director General and CEO of Ordnance Survey since 1875.
Prior to joining the British Civil Service, she held senior commercial development roles with the billion-dollar American software company, Autodesk Inc. and also the global media and publishing company, Pearson plc.
From 2011 until 2015, Vanessa was elected by the UN Member States to be the founding Co-Chair of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM). Over the four years of her leadership, UN-GGIM became the lead global authority for governments and the private sector in geographic information. There is now regular ministerial engagement with leaders from over 130+ countries and a formal regional structure, including UN-GGIM: Arab States and UN-GGIM: Africa has been established across the World; a new part of the formal UN system had not been established for over 20 years.
Vanessa was awarded the GeoSpatial Personality of the Decade 2000–2010 and also was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen by being included in the Honours list to join an Order of Heraldry; and hence she is a Companion of the Order of the Bath.