Explore our new series of learning pathways and lessons designed to guide you through the process of national mapping strategies and technologies. These 6 pathways were created to address the fundamental workflows of a national mapping agency: data collection, management, production and analysis, and collaboration.
Esri Senior National Government Industry Strategy Specialist
Part 1 of a 7 part series exploring GIS and Artificial Intelligence
We are now living in an age where technology is the backbone of successful mapping organizations. By embracing technology all parts of the workplace have become more productive when working on projects. Geospatial organizations have continuously improved upon production and analysis processes by introducing automation and new technologies to the workforce. An exciting recent addition to automation has been the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Learning (DL), and Geographic Artificial Intelligence (GeoAI). These new technologies, when paired with human operators, are ushering in new exciting capabilities that were previously thought as science fiction in the past.
The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first introduced by Professor John Mcarthy in 1955. Due to lack of computational power and large publicly available data sets the field of AI grew slowly. All of this started to change with the development and growth of the internet. With the creation of the internet large amounts of publicly available data became available to develop AI training datasets. These datasets are necessary, because large amounts of data are needed to train AI models. Additionally, with the advent of the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU), affordable processing made possible accelerated development and use of AI.
Deep Learning (DL) is a subset of AI and mainly uses neural networks that are very similar to the human brain. DL is being used in many areas for quick decision making and patter recognition in such tasks as self-driving cars, speech recognition, robotics and image classification.
The most interesting development for Mapping modernization has been the evolution and intersection of GIS or Geospatial Technology with AI and DL. This intersection has provided some of the most powerful technology called GeoAI. Simply put, GeoAI is the intersection of GIS, AI, and Location.
The Importance of GeoAI and Why You Should Care
In all workplaces technology and modernization have drastically impacted work efficiency. Modernization has always been an ongoing process. With the development of electricity, typewriters, computers, GPS, Imagery, Lidar, Autonomous Robots, and GeoAI change in within the workplace has been the only constant. Because of change there is always a lag before any adoption. The hardest part to adapting to this change is the fear of becoming irrelevant and being replaced. Due to fear of replacement it’s often hard for workers to recognize the opportunities that new technology certainly brings. With GeoAI new opportunities for workers need to be recognized that will enhance knowledge and understanding which make the individual more competitive in the workplace. It’s important that by seizing this GeoAI opportunity workers can remove the risk of being left behind and take advantage of advanced placement in the workplace. One area that this is taking place is in the area of remote sensing.
GeoAI in National Mapping and Remote Sensing
It’s important to note that mapping through earth observation is a difficult task. Earth Observation consists of multiple domains such as Air, Land, and Sea. GIS is the unifying technology that is needed for mapping large geographic datasets in national domains. A GIS platform is required that can support such things as Aviation, Topographic Mapping and Disaster Response at global and local scales, and also Maritime requirements for charting of the ocean’s bathymetry, water column, and littoral zones. One such technology that can do this is Esri’s ArcGIS Platform which provides the ability to utilize GeoAI for object detection and classification from both point clouds and raster surfaces derived from Remotely Sensed information. Many international organizations like the International Civil Aviation Organizations (ICAO) are partnering with industry to bring GeoAI into mainstream industries like aviation .
Read part 2 of the series - GIS, Artificial Intelligence, and Automation in the Workplace
Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi), the national mapping agency of Ireland, has undergone a digital transformation that includes great efficiency gains in mapmaking processes, and the creation of a one-stop shop called GeoHive to collect and serve the government’s spatial data across departments. These changes now form a backbone of capability to take mapping to a whole new level.
Key takeaways from this article:
Open data adds transparency and enables interactions.
Location data underpins key government objectives.
Linking initiatives through location pins hope around plans.
This is the second in a three-part series on Ordnance Survey Ireland’s map modernization efforts.
Improved data sharing leads to cost savings and better decisions across government with a greater sense of place for citizens.
National mapping agencies, like many other industries, have seen impacts from the disruption of the internet. The many changes in information flow have caused a complete rethink about what they do and how they do it.
Key takeaways from this article:
Open data leads to increased citizen interaction and improved government collaboration.
Online mapping educates the public about how spatial is special, while allowing them to create custom maps.
Freely available data encourages new investments in Ireland.
First in a three-part series on Ordnance Survey Ireland’s map modernization efforts.
Isn’t data just data?
Once you start asking questions of your data, it doesn’t take long to realize when key details are missing. The location data that underpins mapmaking is of limited use if it only indicates where something is (its address, coordinates, or place-name). It gains intelligence if attributes are added to describe the what and why.
Key takeaways from this article:
The value of spatial data exceeds the value of a paper map.
Intelligent data adds insight, overcoming uncertainty.
Office Increases Efficiency and Data Quality with Custom Mobile Data Collection, Data Management, and Reporting Tools
The Oregon/Washington Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages approximately 14 million acres of rangeland and administers over 2,000 grazing allotments. To fulfill this obligation, it employs more than 50 full-time staff in numerous district and field offices. These individuals share a commitment to a common mission: ensuring the health and productivity of public rangelands for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.
The state of Queensland, in northeastern Australia, is remarkably geographically diverse. It includes coastal rain forests, widespread eucalypt and acacia woodlands, tropical savannas, ephemeral inland rivers, deserts, and rich agricultural belts. With an area of 1,730,000 square kilometers (668,000 square miles), it is approximately seven times the size of Great Britain.
To map and assess land-use patterns and changes throughout the state, Queensland’s Department of Environment and
Science (DES) formed the Queensland Land Use Mapping Program (QLUMP) more than 20 years ago.
Pegasus Airlines is a leading low-cost airline in Turkey with a fleet of 66 airplanes that travel to 103 destinations (40 countries). In the first half of 2015, it carried more than 10 million passengers to 70 international and 33 domestic destinations. The organization needed a faster, more efficient way to create reliable digital charts for pilot navigation during takeoffs and landings and on taxiways.
The Mississippi River marks a meandering divide between the eastern and western United States. But, this mighty waterway acts as more of a connector than a divider for the nation, carrying goods in both directions along its 2,320-mile path from the top of Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) is responsible for providing flood control and maintaining commercial navigation; any supply chain disruption can have ripple effects on the country's economy. The Corps' Rock Island District operates 314 miles and 12 lock and dam sites on the Mississippi as well as 268 miles of channel and 8 locks on the dam sites on the Illinois Waterway - failure of any of the aging locks could result in hundreds of million dollars is loss and damages.
The utilization of GIS helps the Corps' chart and navigate the challenging waterways and help understand the most effective and efficient ways to transport cargo on our nation's waterways.
Key Article Takeaways:
Constant monitoring through GIS, surveys, and sensors keeps barge traffic moving.
Electronic charting gives river captains up-to-date information.
River barge tracking allows the Corps to compare suggested paths with actual paths.