Want to know what’s on the horizon for geospatial? The key to using it effectively is understanding what’s ahead. We break down some of the geospatial trends we’re watching, and why they’re poised to change the industry.
The Democratization of Geospatial Data
What was once geospatial data that only industry experts could decipher is now moving towards being accessible by everyone, regardless of their geospatial knowledge — and that’s a good thing. Democratizing geospatial data levels the playing field across all sectors and industries, and allows organizations to tap into a rich library of location-based tools that support data-driven decisions.
Additionally, democratization means access to geospatial data by those who are building tools to collect, analyze, and contextualize that information to be used in a variety of ways. One shining example is the use of these tools by planners, developers, and even legislators to support the growth of smart cities even though these users are not geospatial experts.
On that note, the rise of smart cities and connected transportation systems will also fuel the growth of geospatial data implementation in this area. Big data, deep learning, and the Internet of Things will show what’s happening in real-time for planners and leaders to make quick, quantifiable decisions about their community.
Autonomous vehicles also need geospatial data to navigate roadways and adjust for weather conditions. Car manufacturers are betting on growing the AV market, which means geospatial will have plenty of opportunities to grow their stake in this particular sector.
Geospatial data software and applications have traditionally been supported by clunky server infrastructure that is complicated and carries a huge cost. However, serverless cloud technology is becoming much more sophisticated and adaptable, meaning that it can now support geospatial app and software development.
A move to the cloud also means that geospatial experts can move into the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which also offers the capacity to store large volumes of information. Cloud support allows that information (like high-res GIS images) to be a part of algorithm testing at high levels.
Looking at Lidar
Lidar evolved to eliminate the cumbersome task of creating topographic maps using photogrammetry. Now, innovations have made lidar an even bigger geospatial trend to watch. Lidar has even entered the mainstream, with Apple announcing its newest iPhone will support lidar use.
The capabilities of lidar have also expanded to provide even more data, and along with the addition of AI, lidar will become more affordable and efficient. After all, if the average consumer can have lidar in their smartphone, it can surely be integrated into geospatial tools for everyone to use.
Devices (like smartphones) are getting smaller and more powerful, and that’s great news for those organizations that are creating geospatial tech. Drones, sensors, and satellites will be getting more efficient and cheaper, allowing for those with a smaller budget to invest in geospatial devices.
More compact and less costly devices are expanding the ability of municipalities and government agencies to collect large amounts of geospatial data to improve critical processes like emergency response management and public safety.
Digital twins use geospatial data to create a virtual representation of a real-world location. This gives those involved in the development process a chance to see insights in real-time, increase collaboration with other partners, and create information transparency.
Digital twins also mitigate the risk of the decisions being made by offering users a predictive summary of the actions initiated. GIS is also being combined with building information modeling to help expose issues through simulation before they become a problem. Again, this approach is part of what gives GIS a starring role in the future of smart city planning.
If you’re on the path to pursuing a career in geospatial, or you’re looking to add GIS tools to your decision-making arsenal, it’s a smart idea to keep ahead of the curve. Our team is constantly sharpening our geospatial skills and tracking trends.
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