the Internet and GIS/GPS, much of it open source, we now have the capability to boost the level of realism in our geospatial models (simulations).
Of course we're still hungry for more and better data, but at least we know the technology is not the bottleneck. Mostly, people just aren't in the habit of sharing, having been schooled in some anti liberal arts ethic I suppose, told to keep everything under wraps, by order of some long ago deceased great pirate (but his dutiful minions live on).
At least some universities are challenging the status quo, getting their materials out to the people who most need 'em in the field. Various UN agencies also provide some rich data streams.