Fostering innovation is critical

Fostering innovation is critical

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Juergen Dold
Juergen Dold
President
Geospatial Solutions Division, Hexagon

What do you envision for geospatial in the future?
We, as geospatial professionals, inherently understand the value of geographic information and data. It is our responsibility to transfer our passion and enthusiasm to a broader audience. This means putting geographic information into the hands of users who can immediately grasp and understand knowledge regarding our Earth. As geospatial vendors, it is our job to achieve the highest level of scientific excellence in our software and hardware products, promoting the expansion and utilisation of data and information to everyone who has a need for that information.

During the past few years, we have witnessed remarkable geospatial advances, alongside increasing adoption rates of these technologies across a wide range of industries. Looking ahead, I believe we will continue to tear down the walls that prohibit secure sharing and exchange of geographic information within (and between) organisations and agencies. Additional technologies will be developed to monitor and understand the changing Earth at a rate consistent with the rate of change that is occurring. The time it takes from the capture of data to the delivery of information will also be drastically minimised. The Geospatial Solutions Division of Hexagon has the product portfolio needed to achieve this vision. Raw data captured for sensors is authored to produce data products, managed to share with others and delivered as value added information by fusing input data sources and associating it with business intelligence. Fulfilling the needs of this geographic information life cycle is critical to achieving this vision.

What role will ERDAS play in achieving this vision?
At ERDAS, we believe that imagery is the foundation of all geographic information. ERDAS strives to ensure that its portfolio of products offers customers solutions that reflect the complete life cycle of geographic data and information.

Remotely sensed data (not just remote sensing data, but any data that can be remotely captured from a sensor device) can be efficiently and intelligently created, catalogued, shared and delivered. ERDAS provides customers the tools needed to create the map of the future, which is an intelligent image.

ERDAS solutions minimise the time required from the capturing of geographic data to its eventual utilisation as information. With authoring, managing, connecting and delivery products, we have the ability to streamline the utilisation of geographic data to users both inside and outside an organisation.

What would be the most conducive environment for your vision to fructify?
The following conditions would provide fertile ground for the growth and realisation of our vision:

  • Policy changes – We are already seeing organisational policies that support the necessary sharing of data across an organisation, thereby tearing down the walls that have previously constrained and restricted the growth of our industry.
  • Data interoperability and standards – Data flows within the arteries of an organisational ecosystem. For this flow to be effective, interoperability and standards for communication are necessary. The efforts of both OGC and ISO have been tremendous in furthering the open sharing of geographic information, both inside and outside organisations.
  • Metadata – To extend the utilisation of geographic data to non-traditional users, metadata is vital. Without metadata, the utilisation of a particular dataset is reduced to a visual information product, thereby minimising any quantitative analysis or information extraction from that data. Metadata starts at the immediate instance of data capture. For example, as a light ray passes through a lens cone of an airborne sensor, the metadata modelling this behaviour needs to be recorded, preserved and associated with the resulting pixel. As this same pixel progresses through the geographic information life cycle, any modifications, additions or alternations to that data need to be recorded utilising an interoperable standard that would subsequently enable other software providers to utilise that data to extract information.
  • Teamwork – Individually, we need to step out of our comfort zones and work together. This means that organisations need to collaborate, share ideas, innovate and build communities of trust to further the utilisation of geographic information. We need to, at times, step away from our photogrammetric, remote sensing, GIS, cartography and CAD worlds and work towards establishing a common, open framework that allows us to better model and understand our Earth.
  • Incorporating time – Unfortunately, when we refer to location, we often abandon the notion of time. If we have any chance of modelling and understanding our Earth, we need to consider how we deal with time, and how we associate time with static instances of geographic data. By recording snapshots of geography through satellite, airborne or terrestrial sensors, we have the ability to record time. Recording and utilising time with location broadens our possibilities for understanding change. With this, we can create modelling and simulation exercises to understand the future. This allows us to simulate future changes to the earth and work towards policies that present damage to our earth’s ecosystem.

What do you expect from the stakeholder community – be it government, users or research and academia?
The seeds of the future are in our academic and educational institutions. Fostering innovation in geospatial technologies is critical to ensuring that the future of the geospatial industry will continue to thrive. As a result, we need to ensure that our universities and colleges continue to educate students on the benefits of geospatial technologies and how to improve our Earth.

Governments have the capability and capacity to make policies that support the use of geospatial technologies to maintain up-to-date land bases and records of geography within geopolitical boundaries. Governments can also sponsor research and development (in collaboration with geospatial commercial hardware and software providers) in building technologies for the future.

It is important for software vendors to proactively maintain an effective feedback mechanism with their user base. Typically, users only contact vendors when there is a problem with their application. Through forums, webinars, roadshows and user group meetings, software vendors can foster a continuous dialogue with their users to share information and quickly address their needs.

What is the role that we ( GIS Development) can play in making geospatial community go citius, altius, fortius?
You are responsible for disseminating all the news that you encounter, and distilling what is truly relevant and significant industry news, regardless of the source or location. You provide an ideal platform for conveying not only corporate and market information, but also for educating the user base to the benefits and advantages of using geospatial technologies.