When I heard about how the Internet of Things (IoT) is being used in combination with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), I felt like my life was one step closer to being a science fiction movie.
You’ve probably heard of this emerging technology before, but in case you’re unsure: the Internet of Things is the collective word for devices that collect and transmit data. This can be about anything from room temperature to air traffic control and is already being used in a number of industries to build an interconnected database of
A Geographic Information System refers to any technology that tracks the location of an object or user. We’re all used to the GPS technology in our phones that lets us know where we are, where our nearest Uber is and how far away our pizza delivery is — these are all examples of Geographic Information Systems.
These two technologies combined can be used to find relationships between a whole range of objects, individuals and buildings, track them in relation to each other, and use the accumulated data to improve the flow and efficiency of any and every activity thinkable. Here are some examples of the potential of this collaboration.
Installing sensors on to the exterior of buildings can put data on the elements to good use for interior atmosphere control. Aspects like sunlight, temperature and wind speed can be monitored and used to adjust humidity and lighting in offices. Exterior noise can also be tracked and prevented from disturbing the interior, and to make sure there isn’t any sound bleeding from the interior to outside.
Along with all the immediate fixes, this abundance of data can be stored and analyzed by building planners to make sure structures are energy efficient throughout the day, and ensure the optimum working conditions for building occupants.
Scale up the level of data collection and the IoT sensors can record data for whole cities. Everything from cars to highways to lamposts can be outfitted with data-collecting sensors that report on traffic, air and noise pollution and more. Heat maps showing pedestrian and car traffic can help in the planning of cycle routes or pedestrianized areas, and planners can use air-quality data to plan the planting of trees.
Another potentially life-saving benefit of this technology would be how IoT sensors could enhance emergency response times. Smart cities would know when water lines or power supply breaks, and on a larger scale, when and where fires break out or floods occur. The information can then be connected directly to responsible departments, improving emergency response times.
No, not those ones. IoT-enabled vehicles can report live data back to relevant control centers to help improve road safety and urban traffic control. Drivers can be updated on areas of particular caution, predicted traffic and road conditions before encountering them, reducing the need for split-second decisions that could cause risk.
The accumulated data on a city’s worth of cars can also help traffic control centers avoid journey disruption and accidents before they happen. The technology could even let drivers know about free parking spaces, reducing the number of cars on the road.
With everything you interact with on a daily basis connected to the IoT, you will have access to an unprecedented amount of data on your life, including how to make it work best for you. You’ll know not only what your route to work is, but exactly how long it will take, what’s the best way to get there, which coffee shops are open along the way and how busy they are. On your way home, you can make sure the temperature is just right, there’s beer in the fridge and the door is ready to open as you arrive.
Listing all the possible implications of combining GIS and IoT technology can feel a little like describing a science fiction movie, but so many of these things are already possible, even currently working in homes across the world. As the technology is refined over time, we can only dream of the ways in which our lives will change.
Note: This is a guest blog by Molly Crockett, a marketing writer at Boomessays.com, who is involved in projects regarding digital media marketing and customer service strategy.