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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

GISCafe Industry Predictions for 2019 – Part III

January 18th, 2019 by Susan Smith

Welcome to GISCafe Industry Predictions for 2019 Part III. We have been including exciting responses from company spokesman in the GIS and Geospatial industry, all focused on the trends and predictions they see for the coming year.


While some of these predictions may be “predictable,” given the trajectory of the industry that we may already be aware of, some may come as a surprise to you. In this article we hear from Harris Corporation, CubeWerx, Phase One Industrial, and GeoSapient. These companies bring technology from a spectrum of expertise and prescience, so that the predictions and trends they envision include the areas of: processing and analysis, cloud, drone and cubesats, medium format aerial mapping technologies, remote sensing, Artificial intelligence, metascience, high-precision GNSS, and real time data collection – and much more!

Dan Gruidel, Harris Corporation

Dan Gruidel, Director of Strategy Development, Harris Corporation 

Imbedded Imagery Analytics and the Rise of Geospatial Monitoring Platforms.   

You can still walk a check into the bank to deposit it, but you don’t have to. Similarly, you can process and analyze terabytes of data to extract information from imagery, but soon you’ll be able to have the answer delivered to your inbox or sent to your phone as an alert. The same way that Financial technology (FinTech) changed the way the world moves money, image science and analytics is on the cusp of transforming the geospatial industry. The convergence of cloud computing power, the overwhelming amount of data being collected, and the advances in artificial intelligence, offers the geospatial industry the real opportunity to improve the lives of millions.

Powerful processing and analysis technology once reserved for the finest geospatial minds in the industry will become part of our everyday lives in ways we haven’t fully grasped yet. Imagine that behind the scenes, imagery and data are collected, processed, and proven image analytics are applied to your area of interest. All you will see is the text alerting you of encroaching infestation on your crops, or about a possible asset malfunction at a nearby gas pipeline, or perhaps a sinkhole is developing on the runway at the airport you oversea, or maybe you’ll get a warning about possible flooding on the road you’re driving down. These applications are being developed and used today, and soon will be imbedded into your everyday life. But to trust the answer, you need to trust the science and organization that delivered it.

Mr. Gruidel is the Director Strategy Development of Harris where he manages marketing strategy and operations for Harris Geospatial Solutions products and services worldwide. Before joining Harris Geospatial Solutions, Mr. Gruidel was Vice President of Global Marketing for Nexant. Nexant is an energy efficiency consulting and technology leader specializing in helping Energy companies better operate and manage energy consumption and customer engagement.  

Glenn Stowe, CubeWerx

Glenn Stowe, Product Manager, CubeWerx

2018 was an exciting year in geospatial and 2019 promises to be even more interesting. Here are CubeWerx’s predictions for the coming year:

We see a convergence of factors centered on the Cloud that will further come into focus this year. The volume of data being produced by providers is increasing exponentially as sensors become more accurate and collection platforms proliferate through the use of drone technologies and inexpensive “cubesats”. Access to space has never been cheaper and will continue to become more so.

While this provides a wealth of raw data, the processing required to turn it into usable information presents unique challenges. Data production pipelines based on moving files around will become unsustainable. Cloud storage, and the direct processing of cloud-hosted data using “serverless” computing, containers and other similar technologies will continue to displace the old methods of downloading raw data to desktop software for processing.

The integration of ground station operators with cloud storage providers, through hybrid environments or the complete migration of operations into the cloud will further reduce the time it takes to publish newly acquired data. The Cloud’s ability to process this data efficiently and at scale will begin to bring us near real time delivery of geospatial information.

This shift will naturally favor those technologies and solutions which are “cloud native” and best able to take advantage of the power of flexible, scalable architectures. We will see a proliferation of thematic exploitation platforms (TEPs) in 2019 – massive, constantly updated data collections based around a community of use, such as climate change, etc. that provide algorithm development space and the ability to push processing to the data.

Of course, shifting to the cloud has its pitfalls as well. Fully embracing the native services of one cloud provider or another creates vendor lock-in that may be difficult to undo. To mitigate this risk, we will see movement within standards bodies like the Open Geospatial Consortium etc. towards developing standards around cloud processing of geospatial data.

Glenn Stowe has over 25 years’ experience in the geospatial industry with a strong focus on standards-based web services and scalable solutions to big-data problems. He is co-founder and product manager at CubeWerx, in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, where he often wears several hats as software architect, entrepreneur and technology evangelist. 

Founded in 1996, CubeWerx provides managed services and high performance, standards-based software components for the integration, storage and management of geospatial data both on premise and in the cloud.

Oodi Menaker, Phase One Industrial

Oodi Menaker, Product Marketing Manager, Phase One Industrial

At Phase One Industrial, we are witnessing the ongoing shrinking in size and weight for all electronic components and equipment, which in turn is driving the medium format aerial mapping industry to lower weight and size as well as higher resolution cameras — the product category in which Phase One Industrial excels. We see the UAV mapping market maturing, with customers distinguishing between jobs that may be efficiently done by small UAVs and those large area coverage jobs that may be more efficiently handled by a manned aircraft. Also, we expect to see a higher level of automation in city management, driving the need for accurate 3D geographic mapping.

Clearly there is a growing, vibrant, ongoing demand for greater versatility in aerial survey equipment – a trend being vigorously addressed by Phase One Industrial. A new generation of imaging solutions has been developed to support the rise of robust UAV/drone-based operations. These new tools can enable more efficient, more cost-effective aerial imaging technologies. At the same time complete imaging systems, built upon high-resolution medium format cameras, with flight planning, flight management, stabilizer and high-resolution cameras (100MP-190MP) are supporting the high-accuracy, manned aircraft mapping market. For this latter category, Phase One Industrial cameras with compact image recording possibilities are widely used in generating oblique systems.

Oodi Menake has had an illustrious career to date: with a BSC in Aeronautical Engineering from Technion Israel Institute of Technology; MBA from Ben Gurion University-Israel. Flight Test Engineer – USAF Test Pilot School, Commercial pilot license, Single engine land, IFR. Commercial UAV Operator – LOS. During his 20-year service with Israeli Air Force, he held flight test engineering positions, as well as avionics test and integration and staff positions. Retired LtC. Worked for several firms as project and product manager in the areas of communications, legal interception, LIDAR mapping, UAV production, 3D visualization and aero photogrammetry and mapping. Most recently, held positions at Phase One Industrial five years as marketing product manager for the iX Capture software and other products, and as test pilot for Phase One Industrial cameras.

Top Three GeoSapient, Inc. Predictions

John L. Kelley, President & Co-founder, GeoSapient

Beyond Imagery and Pixels

Massive change in the remote sensing industry is resulting in the democratization and commoditization of low-earth orbit and aerial products. Data that used to be static now flows in all directions. Cloud-based systems will be gathering and analyzing data on an unprecedented scale. Data collection volumes will dramatically increase as firms add to their constellations and coverage frequency.

Consolidations (M&A) Will Accelerate

Firms will begin “closing their networks” with mergers and partnerships to fill gaps in their offerings. This activity will be highest between incumbents and newly established innovative geoanalytics firms. Thus, vertical integration will increase of firms launching satellites to selling geoanalytics. There will be an expansion of tech startups offering services from hyperspectral gas detection to radar imaging that will be attractive acquisition targets.

Global Supply Chain Optimization and Industrial IoT Protection

Remote sensing products and the associated geoanalytics will enable firms with global and complex supply chains to manage, optimize, and protect their assets from the sky. There is tremendous opportunity in these sectors, like energy and environment, to realize what geospatial knowledge can do to address pain points in their supply chains and on-the-ground logistics operations.

Additional Predictions:

Platforms Decouple from DIY (Makers Market) Products

A cautionary note for 2019, as firms race to expand their offerings, there will be ever increasing need for simplicity of analytics and model geoworkflows. The continued growth of platforms without standardizations will lead to confusion in the marketplace, especially for an applied consumer who is not a geospatial expert.

Migration from Data and Information to Geospatial Knowledge

As the nature of knowledge shifts due to cognitive computing, scientific understanding of intelligence advances. Computation, big data, and AI in real-time will change the human understanding of knowledge. Innovative firms recognize that as geospatial knowledge continually shifts, they, too, must keep adjusting their understanding.

The Planet is Growing Itself a Brain

The expansion of networked computing, data, and models will continue unabated. Changes in sensor and imaging technology along with computing, big data, and AI, put us squarely in the “Age of Awareness.” Increasingly, digital technology will monitor everything. New geoworkflows will generate an improved understanding of “deep learning” leveraging cognitive computing for the planet’s big brain.

The New Platforms Involve Metascience

Metascience is emerging as data and cognitive engineers turn their tools on the GIS practices. Interdisciplinary teams are necessary, as big data- and AI-based computations spread geoanalyses across disciplinary boundaries which require data and model platforms to accommodate.

Booming Sectors Ask More Relevant Questions

Energy and environment firms will ask more questions: Can we monitor well site lifecycle? Where are the sand mines? How do we identify a pipeline location that has no address? Where are the methane leaks? Can we detect flaring? These are just a few of the questions that can be addressed with geospatial knowledge.

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Categories: agriculture, air pollution, aircraft tracking, airports, analytics, ArcGIS, asset management, autonomous driving, autonomous vehicles, Big Data, Blockchain technology, climate change, cloud, cloud network analytics, conversion, crowd source, data, developers, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, eSpatial, field GIS, geospatial, GIS, GNSS, government, GPS, handhelds, image-delivery software, in car navigation, indoor location technology, indoor mapping, lidar, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, MapInfo, mobile, mobile mapping, Open Source, photogrammetry, public safety, reality modeling, remote sensing, satellite based tracking, satellite imagery, sensors, situational intelligence, small sats, spatial data, survey, transportation, UAVs

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