Gaming for Success

Lightweight Geospatial Intelligence

Day two of GeoSmart India 2016 began with the kick-off of Geo Intelligence Asia, a separate event housed within the same facility as GeoSmart. Geo Intelligence focuses on the military and defense sectors with multiple speakers from all walks of life, including ex-army commanders, scientific advisors and state governors alike. The morning keynote was given by Lt. General Nirbhay Sharma, Governor of Mizoram who had provided some interesting insights into his previous life as a general as well as some important considerations as we experience volatile social and political climates in Asia. Mr. Sharma emphasized the importance of geospatial technology and the role software providers are playing in shaping the future.

Greg Bentley provided a second keynote in the afternoon in the provocatively named “GIS-Enabled Digital Battlefield” session which also included other notable speakers, one of which included Mark Reichardt, President and CEO of Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). As the session veered towards the use of geospatial technology and its use within these sectors, each presentation demonstrated the value of geospatial technology and the role it plays in providing accurate maps, security functions and greater levels of intelligence. For example, the United Nations use geospatial data to help plan and orchestrate efforts in inhospitable countries. I suppose if you look back through history, all military commanders have needed to understand terrain, topology and be meticulous about mapping to provide them with a competitive advantage during warfare.

Greg’s keynote focused on “continuous surveying” as an opportunity to benefit the military and indeed, “Reality Modeling” was a constant theme. The use of 3D models that are seamlessly created from photographs taken from aerial photography and ground points, provide examples of how software can be a trusted ally to the military, emergency response units, homeland security and law enforcement. The moderator had previously talked about the need for geospatial data to be more lightweight, less complex and easier to administer. The key to “Reality Modeling” is in fact that it is lightweight, and used in an engineering context it is a powerful tool indeed. Creating these detailed 3D models can provide significant competitive advantage in highly immersive environments.

It reminds me of the gaming industry. Games over the years have provided 3D environments to build cities, invade other countries and generally experience limitless possibilities, but thankfully the chaos caused is only done in a virtual environment. With digital DNA firmly imprinted in the youth of today, we will surely see the next generation of engineers deliver some exciting advancements in the industry. Simulating in an engineering context provides greater insight into such events as a terror attack. For example, by simulating the view from a building, you can see the vantage point of that particular area - before it even exists! This type of information could be critical in averting a potential crisis and enlivens engineering so that it can be compellingly communicated through the use of game-like environments.

In today’s climate, it is the case that threats and attacks can be better averted with the use of good data. GIS and 3D models are fast becoming more nimble and lightweight and don’t require heavy computational power like point clouds as an example. "Reality Modeling" is indeed a lightweight GIS, compact, elegant and geometric by nature and will surely play a major role in delivering "continuous surveying" opportunities with precise geo-coordination that can help security and military personnel in troubled times.