By Mladen Stojic, Vice President, Geospatial at Intergraph SG&I
Geospatial organizations need to use and distribute volumes of geospatial data. Often, disparate legacy information systems hinder data sharing, collaboration and effective use of geo-information. When departments use different geospatial software and data formats, data silos emerge that form obstacles to effective collaboration within the enterprise. Add proprietary and black-box systems into the mix, and we are left with disconnected, fragmented and ‘static’ deployments of GIS. This becomes even more problematic when trying to share data with outside users and organizations. In this new generation of “I want it now,” we need to break down the traditional geospatial walls that have been built up inside organizations.
In order to break down these “data silos,” organizations need to implement tools and strategies that help with distributing geospatial data and functionality within the organization and beyond. In addition, adherence to industry standards, including INSPIRE, Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO), not only help break down barriers, but also allows organizations to comply with government mandates.
Historically, the most significant data silos existed in the U.S. Intelligence Community, which struggled to enhance data in real-time with the warfighter in the post 9/11 world. As the use of geospatial technologies has expanded to multiple vertical industries (including emergency management, disaster planning, utilities as well as agriculture), the same need to share vital information and manage assets through the use of geospatial data has emerged – as do the same challenges.
Fortunately, there are industry solutions that make it possible to break down these silos, allowing for organizations to fully maximize geospatial data. With ERDAS APOLLO and GeoMedia SDI Portal, organizations can easily manage, visualize and share accurate geospatial data and information to collaborate internally, as well as with government agencies, commercial businesses, and the public.
Being able to collaborate with professionals who are not trained in GIS has also long-been a challenge. Along these lines, the Intergraph geospatial portfolio addresses the unmet demand for geospatial information and services among non-GIS experts, as well as enables the direct access to geospatial data from its source without the need for translation.
Geospatial data is only valuable if it can be shared and ultimately becomes actionable – whether it is for the warfighter or for a utility company. Members of industry have made tremendous strides in providing the tools needed to bring geospatial data to life, which provides business and operational results that were previously well out of reach.
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