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Location intelligence vital for Digital Earth

UK: A new report published by the Association of Geographic Information (AGI), in partnership with Atkins, Esri UK and Ordnance Survey gives insight into the issue of Digital Earth by discussing five key themes — technologies, big data, open source, future use, and policy and culture. Called AGI Foresight Report 2020, the study finds a truly connected Digital Earth can only be achieved through location intelligence. The report identifies BIM, Smart Cities and the Internet of Things as key areas where location intelligence is being utilized to underpin decisions and address key social, environmental and economic challenges.

A common thread through the report is the need for the GI community, and location intelligence, to tackle issues of data quality and data management to enable enhanced decision making in Digital Earth. The report highlights that to do this the industry requires a fundamental and deep understanding of its relationship with digital data.

Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Not only will this bring a huge increase in data, but will also increase the amount of possible noise which will need to be sifted through to find real nuggets.

The next 5 years will likely see the emergence of hybrid solutions which combine proprietary systems with open source data and open software. And the geospatial industry has the skills to shape and tame this information, such as scenario modelling to produce probabilistic outcomes, such as forecasting of extreme events. Managing this level of complexity requires a clear approach to data management.

According to former AGI Chair and Atkins Fellow and Director, Anne Kemp, “There is far more to location intelligence than maps. It’s all about data, what you do with it and what outcomes you can provide that counts. We are seeing an explosion in the volume of sensors and mobile devices in cities, homes and workplaces which are producing torrents of data. The role of location intelligence in the management of these datasets is vital, with it becoming the glue to connect them. The management of big data through location intelligence enables people, and technologies, to visualize information and draw out insights to inform better dialogue and make informed decisions.”

Download the report here.