We are witnessing a rapid change as new technologies enable geospatial data to be utilized in new ways across every industry. The proliferation of Cloud computing, infinite storage, low-cost sensors, machine learning, and fast networks are together bringing new power and relevance to geospatial data. Combined with the ability to rapidly collect, aggregate, process, analyze, and act upon this data, we are seeing transformation in every field, ranging from building management to agriculture to delivery of social services to defense. Today, the question is not whether geospatial data is needed but rather how geospatial will drive the next set of industry revolutions.
The importance of geospatial data and technologies can’t be stressed enough to provide valuable insights into the businesses, identify potential areas that are worthy of analyses and then help present those results effectively back to customers. It is both a pre-analysis layer to understand what is happening and then a presentation layer to presenting it back to users. A lot of heavy lifting work is happening in the areas of analytics and machine learning using data that is pulled from the GIS systems and then delivered right back to the GIS systems.
The trend here is really towards deep learning and deep understanding of information, getting a large variety of information from different sources, ranging from small sensors to traditional mapping applications, and delivering that knowledge to enable you to make the right decisions. With the expansion of the geospatial industry, there is more and more inclusion of building tools for analyzing geospatial data.
The importance of geospatial data and technologies can’t be stressed enough to provide valuable insights into the businesses, identify potential areas that are worthy of analyses and then help present those results effectively back to customers.
Many are of the view that the core geospatial industry is being nibbled on two sides by IT and large industrial powerhouses, with both segments developing their own geospatial capabilities. However, I feel that this is a great opportunity for the geospatial industry to partner more effectively to deliver what customers really want — very effective and real-time services.
I believe that the most novel uses of geospatial technology are coming from new entrants who focus on creating customer value using geospatial technology as an enabler. They are embedding data, maps and imageries as part of their core applications; a key factor here is location intelligence. It is important to reach out to them with an objective to make geospatial data easy and quicker to access, and more effective in the applications that these companies are trying to build.
Geospatial and 4IR
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the marriage of data, analytics and real-time presentation to allow customers to make decisions and improve the efficiency of their processes. The key enablement for 4IR is the fact that we are now bringing together massive amount of data, applying deep analytics, Big Data analytics and machine learning to fuse the data together and draw conclusions, and then present that information very quickly in order to drive changes in how we manufacture, schedule resources and so on. I expect the geospatial ecosystem to evolve to both support 4IR, and 4IR will, in turn, put new pressures and requirements on geospatial industry.