HBR has a post on Spatial Thinking.
The Importance of Spatial Thinking Now
In its 375 years, Harvard has only ever eliminated one entire academic program. If you had to guess, what program do you think that was and when was it killed off?
The answer: Harvard eradicated its Geography Department in the 1940s, and many universities followed suit.
The timing couldn’t have been worse, really. Shortly after the elimination of Geography here at Harvard, the discipline underwent a quantitative and computational revolution that eventually produced innovations like Google Maps and global positioning systems, to name just two. Seventy years later we are paying for a prolonged lack of spatial thinking at American universities. There are too few classes that enable learners to improve their spatial reasoning abilities, with maps and visualizations being of course the most central artifacts to such improvements. The problem is simple: not enough people know how to make maps or handle spatial data sets.
In 1999 when a couple of us at Microsoft wanted to leverage GPS data with images, people thought we were nuts. Thanks to smartphones, GPS data is with images and all kinds of other data that comes from the phone.
I wrote about spatial intelligence a year ago, and it is nice to see that spatial is becoming a more popular topic