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Geospatial on AWS – How can you use Amazon Web Services?

geospatial and AWS - Amazon Web Services know more on Geospatial on AWS

If you are wondering about deploying Geospatial on AWS – then this is blog post is for you!

Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com is a well-known suite of cloud-computing services offering that make up an on-demand computing platform.

What does AWS Offer?

AWS offers a broad range of offerings such as computing resources, storage, databases and network offerings.

Amazon - AWS cloud services - geospatial
Amazon AWS – Broad & Deep Core Cloud Infrastructure Services – Credits: Amazon

The most relevant aspects from a geospatial perspective are

  • Compute services such as virtual servers, web app deployment, load balancing
  • Storage & content delivery services such as an object, block storage, data storage
  • Database services such as relational databases, caching

A new generation of rich platform services is also increasingly becoming relevant such as analytics, mobile services, and the Internet of Things.

Amazon - AWS Rich Platform Services and geospatial
Amazon AWS Rich Platform Services. Some of them are very relevant for next-generation geospatial applications. Credits: AWS

Geospatial on AWS

Geospatial database indexing on the cloud

Managing and indexing large sets of location data can be daunting for geospatial application developers. AWS provides a support for geospatial indexing on Amazon DynamoDB datasets. Using Geo Library for Amazon DynamoDB library managing developers can manage geohash indexes, for fast and efficient execution of location-based queries over Amazon DynamoDB items representing points of interest (latitude/longitude pairs).

Amazon DynamoDB is a fast and flexible NoSQL database service for all applications that need consistent, single-digit millisecond latency at any scale. It is a fully managed cloud database.

Imagery Data Caching over the Cloud

Hosting Imagery services and providing reliable services to end clients is quite challenging. According to this [PDF] Amazon paper on ArcGIS Server, Because image services provide so much functionality with their dynamic mosaicking and on the fly processing they put more demands on the serving infrastructure. This is where services such as Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) come into play!

Implementing Search Services for web apps in the Cloud

If you store locations in your document using a lat-long field and want to provide basic geographic functionality to your web apps, you can use Amazon CloudSearch to do basic geographic computations such as calculate the distance between two locations, search within an area, sort results by distance.

GeoInt applications using cloud services

R has been a popular platform for GEOINT applications providing a wide range of functions and packages related to spatial analysis. SparkR provides a great solution for overcoming known limitations in R because and helps to run geospatial applications in a distributed environment provided by the Spark engine.

You can implement your SparkR geospatial application on Amazon EMR, and combine these benefits with the flexibility and ease-of-use provided by EMR. Amazon EMR is a web service that makes it easy to quickly and cost-effectively process vast amounts of data.

Geospatial Analytics in the Cloud

Image analytics is one area where enterprises have been deploying and managing huge recurring IT compute resources. Especially when we talk of collaboration, doing more with less, simplifying IT management and concentrate on Analytics, it becomes necessary that organizations start looking at cloud alternatives.

Geospatial software providers have already started working in this directions, and have started deploying their software suites on AWS. We will put this as a separate topic when we cover the geospatial cloud products and platforms.

Geospatial Web, Mobile and IoT Apps with AWS

According to Amazon “A new generation of sophisticated geospatial mobile apps are being developed, which are serverless and can scale to virtually unlimited users without any infrastructure or servers to manage.”

This scenario shows an example of a weather application and how Amazon Lambda works
This scenario shows an example of a weather application and how Amazon Lambda works

Running such infrastructure that consists of multiple services and managing them is made quite easy by AWS Lambda where you can run code without thinking about servers and pay for only the compute time you consume.

Watch the video: Serverless Geospatial Mobile Apps with Amazon Web Services

How is your geospatial on AWS journey?

Have you already started deploying geospatial on AWS? What kind of services are you using? What applications are you running supported by AWS? Do let others reading this post know, by posting your comments.

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