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Geospatial undergirds Industry 4.0 with eye on collaboration and sustainability

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With the world on the brink of technological disruption, geospatial is becoming ubiquitous and by default in all domains. It is not only a great enabler but also the linchpin of future innovations. Be it our day-to-day activities or cutting edge futuristic research, modern-day agriculture, construction, or business planning, geoinformation has become a prerequisite in every field.

The opening session of GeoSmart India 2019 at HICC ( Hyderabad International Convention Center) discusses the indispensable role of geospatial technology as the bedrock of the hyper-connected epoch of Industry 4.0, a key thread in technological confluence, and a path-breaking force in ensuring sustainable development and effective planning.

Also Read: GeoSmart India 2019 to kick start from December 3

Core of Industry 4.0

Digital transformation is redefining the geospatial industry by data profusion, unveiling new business models, and increased investments in innovations, streamlined workflows, use of change detection / predictive analysis, and wider industry collaboration

“Along with Industry 4.0, which is the convergence of physical and the digital world, two other important phenomena are: Globalization 4.0 and Education 4.0”, says Dr. BVR Mohan Reddy, Founder & Executive Chairman, Cyient.

He further states that Industry 4.0 has to be looked at with constraints to globalization 4.0, and it will encompass the education sector as well. Geosaptial sector is being accelerated by the rapid decrease in the size of sensors, increasing computerization and Cloud capabilities and fast connectivity.

“Creation of enormous amount of geospatial data and the ability to analyze and crunch it using new algorithms is redefining business models, and even hitherto traditional sectors like transportation and agriculture are undergoing a massive transformation”, adds Dr. Reddy.

He identified five imperatives to stay ahead in the paradigm of industry 4.0: Prioritizing hotspots/ select domains, ecosystem of partners/ collaborators, scouting fresh talent and reskilling, advanced technological access, and organizational agility to add value and enhance the customer experience.

Dr. Reddy best embodies the theme of Geosmart India 2019 with his words “Ignite your minds, integrate with others and make the best of the current geospatial information in Industry 4.0”

Dr. BVR Mohan Reddy discussing the 5 imperatives

Sustainability riddle

Sustainability has become a pressing concern of our age and is at the core of policy issues in the world. It has to be looked through a technological prism if it is to be achieved. Technology is not divorced from ecological and social considerations but is emerging as a tool to help address these mounting concerns.

A 1987 report titled ‘Our Common Future’ by the Brundtland Institute interlinked economic development and environmental impact. Ever since ecology and perils of climate change have been identified as key vectors that should influence economic thinking.

“There is a need for sustainable and inclusive development and modern technology would play a great role in it. Sustainable Development means different things to different people, but at its core, it tries to harmonize different needs and devise specific long-term solutions”, says Usha Thorat, Chairman, Board of Governors, Foundation for Ecological Security & Former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

“In the context of sustainability, it’s important to realize that while the ecological footprint of the poor is minuscule, climate change & loss of biodiversity impact the poor more than the rich”, she adds

Citing the agricultural sector in India, she says that just two crops – rice & sugarcane – guzzle 80% power.

Loan waivers, subsidies, free power make the Indian agricultural scene unsustainable. There is an urgent need to look at carbon footprint, decentralization and focus on renewable energy, she adds.

Collaborative framework

Dorine Burmanje

There is a need for broad global collaboration in the geospatial sector to foster innovation, infuse dynamism. For this, a National Geospatial Information Infrastructure and a common Knowledge Platform is the way ahead.

“Geospatial community has grown into a connected worldwide community. An expanding group of individuals is leading to a greater impact of geospatial information.  UNGGIM is playing a leading role in this regard, recognizing the need for geospatial data for decision-making”, says Dorine Burmanje, Former Chair, Kadastre.

She further adds that it is not only about sustainability, for everything that is happening data is crucial. For the public sector it is important to redefine itself in this tsunami of data.

Geospatial all the way

While The Economist dubbed ‘Data as the New Oil’, around the same time McKenzie termed geospatial as ‘the new general-purpose technology’.

“Geospatial at the heart of society and is being leveraged for adding value. If we only invest in production, value realization is inhibited”, says Peter Hedlund, CEO, Ordnance Survey.

Peter Hedlund, CEO, Ordnance Survey

The upcoming challenges before national mapping and cartographic agencies is that there is a dire need to capture more accurate data at an unprecedentedly fast rate, as with automation and change detection will enable an entirely new business model.

“Data-driven agencies have to evolve with time. Automation is critical in this aspect and forging partnerships are essential”, he says.

“Geography provides content, context, and a common reference system. GIS is akin to a Digital nervous system and applying The Science of Where – Integration of science and technology, GIS and Geospatial. It helps us to model, design, take decisions and move to action”, says Dean Angelides, Corporate Director, Esri.

Various projects can be combined into systems, and eventually into a mega systems of systems. This is happening in many countries, including India. Geospatial is going to scale and is on an upward progression. A powerful and digital knowledge system for the planet can be built.

Adding Value

On the question of adding value in a geospatial ecosystem, Dean believes that we cannot manage what we can’t measure. He stresses the need to take action quickly, so that we can look at the gains as well as the challenges.

Hedlund emphasizes that the Ordnance Survey mission is to build a better world by leveraging data.

With the fast-changing, evolving, transitioning paradigms and integration of technologies, the public sector needs to redefine itself to ascertain the value of data and use it optimally for delivering public good and facilitating innovative developments.

“Geospatial for evidence-based decision-making is helping us solve issues like urbanization, food scarcity, climate change to build a sustainable world”, adds Burmanjee.

Also Read: #GeospatialByDefault – the all encompassing technology