Trends and Technologies Shaping the Geospatial Industry (series)
In our previous blog in this series, we covered key trends relating to Technology and Data. We continue to look at the key trends influencing the future of Geospatial Technologies by looking at Solutions, Process, people and Politics.
Solutions refers to combinations of technology and data that develop systems that generate information, gain insight, and achieve knowledge in the geospatial realm. Under the Solutions section key topics and points include:
Digital Twins –a digital twin digitally represents a physical system that enables users to visualise it, check the system’s status, perform analysis, and generate insights in order to predict and optimise its performance.
It is not static, allowing two-way flow of information between the physical and virtual, where the real-world system’s sensors provide relevant data to the Digital Twin processor, and when information and insights created by the DT processor are generated, they are shared back with the original system to be acted upon. Geospatial technology is rapidly becoming uniquely placed to create and manage Digital Twins across a variety of sectors. The technology is rapidly improving and evolving.
Intelligent Transport Systems –geospatial systems are contributing to ITS by offering integrated tools such as traffic management, asset management, route planning and optimisation.
Smart Cities –are anurban area that uses different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect specific data. Information gained from that data is used to manage assets, resources, and services efficiently, and improve operations across a city.
Strategy –worldwide, geospatial strategies are developed to foster economic growth, employment opportunities and to combat challenges related to climate change, urbanisation, disaster resilience and resource management.
Strategies are critical to the successful implementation of geospatial systems, continued development and growth of technology and people, and to achieving business goals. They should set goals and key performance indicators that can be measured and should quantify (in monetary terms) what the benefit of implementing the plan might be.
Data curation –the process of maintaining datasets so they can be accessed by users looking for reliable information. It involves collecting, structuring, indexing, maintaining and cataloguing data for users.The NZ Government Data Strategy and Roadmap 2021 (DATA.GOVT.NZ, 2021) offers good insight into the likely future requirements of data curation and sharing in New Zealand.
Collaboration –as described in the Government Data Strategy and Roadmap 2021 (DATA.GOVT.NZ, 2021), progress towards New Zealand’s digital future, more than anything else, will require collaboration. This will occur across data, analytics, and technology to ensure the geospatial information is at the core of digital twins, predictive analytics, geospatial modelling, and autonomous operations in the future.
Collaborating across multiple levels (national, regional, business, private, public sectors) will be key to future generation of knowledge, value, and benefit for all.
Standards –data standards establish a common approach to the collection, management, and use of data. Having consistent standards ensures that organisations can effectively share data, across existing privacy and security settings.
At the international level, multiple organisations are actively developing such standards for geospatial data use. Nationally, ANZLIC have identified Spatial data standards a key priority in terms of the use of open spatial data standards and the creation of accurate 3D and 4D foundational spatial data over the next few years.
Skills –GIS professionals have traditionally been adept at a wide range of skills, and required skill-sets have continued to increase as the disciplines associated with GIS and geospatial information have diversified over the last decade. It is expected that skill-sets will become more specialised (i.e., geospatial professionals will focus on certain sub-disciplines) as the geospatial industry refocuses towards data science and analytics, computer science, and data visualisation to meet the requirements of the future Geoverse.
Workplace – hybrid and remote working has, and will likely continue to, become standard. This will be complimented with increased emphasis on “soft skills”, inclusivity and wellbeing.
The political environment will always exert a level of influence on the trends mentioned previously. As such, no discussion on the future trends and technologies can afford to ignore politics. International politics, and to a certain extent, what is happening within the United Nations, will influence what happens locally, generally over a longer timeframe. Local politics can have a more immediate impact.
For us right now in NZ, the following political events will have an impact. Aside from the coming National Elections and the possibility of a change of government, there is the Resource Management reforms, The Future of Local Government review, and of course, 3 Waters reform. These political happenings will influence how we think strategically about geospatial technologies, and how we architect, implement and apply them within our organisations.