By Mladen Stojic, president, Hexagon Geospatial (www.hexagongeospatial.com), Norcross, Ga.
One constant in our world is change, which can have a dramatic effect on virtually any organization around the globe. Today's dynamically transforming landscape, whether resulting from man-made or natural causes, influences all plans and decisions. The most progressive organizations have developed the right tools and systems for understanding change, enabling rapid response and letting users effectively articulate their stories and efforts.
But all organizations aren't created equal when it comes to geospatial needs and challenges. From local businesses analyzing agricultural and natural resource needs to national mapping agencies, organizations across the globe require geospatial solutions every day to help them understand change in their areas of interest.
A new paradigm finds non-geospatial professionals seeking powerful, more intuitive geospatial solutions to provide the information required to make mission- and business-critical decisions. With creative and intuitive interfaces, smart workflows and automated technologies, today's geospatial offerings help organizations transform multisource content into actionable information.
Ultimately, users want to leverage a single portfolio that integrates analytics across multiple disciplines. They seek a simple experience, yet one that lets them effectively manage spatial data from the sensor to the operational decisions made by leaders reviewing maps and reports. This includes harnessing and embracing big data and customizing value-added information for easily interpreting geospatial analytics. Of course, the last step entails delivering context- and industry-specific information through the cloud to online, digital and mobile platforms, providing a 360-degree perspective and a broad understanding of change.
By combining the best solutions in photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information system (GIS) and cartography technologies, users can make more informed decisions. Such a powerful portfolio of technologies also lets users flow seamlessly from the desktop to server and mobile solutions, providing the flexibility needed to access and share the right geospatial information at the right time. In addition, investing in a comprehensive solution can solve a wide range of technological needs such as data organization, automated geoprocessing, spatial data infrastructure, workflow optimization, Web editing and Web mapping.
Identifying Steps to Success
By taking a unified approach that encompasses a wide range of solutions, users can see the big picture and make sense of change. The foundation of this unified approach can be found in three simple steps:
1. Data Collection and Processing
Organizations ultimately need to effectively collect, process, analyze and understand raw geospatial data to deliver the most usable information.
By processing large quantities of raw spatial data, such as Earth imagery, terrain, radar and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, today's geospatial solutions offer insightful information that can be collected from a wide range of sources. From there, users can create, update and analyze valuable geospatial content. From a GIS perspective, users need to consistently generate and update vector layers, perform dynamic spatial analysis and reports, and automatically create and update maps, all while managing data and map production more efficiently.
The next step is exploiting the power of corporate databases with support for extensive native spatial data types, with no middleware required. In addition, new flexible architectures provide a high degree of performance while reliably meeting all demands. From a remote sensing perspective, users can combine imagery, terrain, radar and point-cloud data to extract rich information that can't be detected through visual inspection alone.
2. Managing and Delivering Geospatial Data
Ensuring your data are organized so users can find the information they need is usually a huge challenge for geospatial organizations and their information technology (IT) departments. Now administrators easily can organize file-based, database and web-enabled geospatial and business data into a centralized library as well as distribute data from the cloud or on-site into desktop, web and mobile applications.
Furthermore, seamlessly sharing data within and across large, disparate organizations can be achieved while optimizing storage requirements and reducing total cost of ownership. Through dynamic data compression solutions, organizations can alleviate pressures associated with expanding imagery data holdings and the requirements of an increasingly demanding and diverse user base.
These types of solutions allow a vast number of users to perform complex asset searches against rich metadata to find what they need. In addition, distributing massive amounts of data to thousands of users efficiently and quickly becomes a reality in a variety of standard and proprietary ways.
3. Next-Generation Data Delivery
With more organizations embracing mobility and easy-to-use web interfaces, users can leverage robust and highly functional platforms to build customized apps and solutions. A sophisticated set of developer-focused technologies lets organizations extend geospatial functionality to where it's needed most”on the cloud as well as web, desktop and mobile devices”through modern and dynamic toolkits.
It's also possible to create and easily deploy smarter workflows to multidisciplinary teams across the same organization. By integrating geospatial information into focused business processes, constructing powerful, highly constrained, map-based workflows will guide users step by step through creating and attributing data.
Addressing a More Challenging World
With a stream of never-ending technological advances completely disrupting industries, virtually every organization around the globe must manage change to be successful and achieve mission effectiveness.
Geospatial information underpins decision making for so many organizations, including international governments, utilities, transportation organizations, retailers and beyond. The right information is the knowledge needed to effectively confront our changing world and stay one step ahead.
The most progressive users demand a powerful portfolio of unified technologies, with mobile, big data and cloud-based solutions that are intuitive. With a new emphasis on a user's needs (and experience), rather than predefined industry segmentation, organizations easily can sense, decide and act accordingly in response to a rapidly transforming world.