Data! More data! Still more data! The exploding appetite for enriching GIS datasets with more and better data to support decision making is contributing to the rising demand for custom datasets. It is clear that richly attributed, custom datasets will soon become the “coin of the GIS realm.” In addition to the increasing availability of precision data, the demand for more, better, and faster GIS data conflation is also driven by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s recent directive to suppliers to aggregate existing data to meet stringent NGA requirements.
New tools and different methods are now required to create the more comprehensively-attributed, custom datasets that are replacing the “good enough” datasets that sufficed in the past. Some early adopters in the GIS market already use a new technology: automated conflation, or “intelligent aggregation” of GIS data. They seem to think that it will give them a competitive advantage that will differentiate the winners from the losers. This article reviews the concept of conflation and two toolkits that can help any GIS professional be more efficient and accurate. (more…)