The Importance of "geo-coordination" with Reality Modeling

Is it me or do flip phones look dated?

The GeoSmart India Conference 1-3 March 2016 has begun in earnest. In this vast exhibition hall in the outskirts of Delhi, Greater Noida, we’ve heard from some interesting speakers and Geospatial Media should be recognized for their ability to create a sense of community during such transitional times in India. The keynote addresses are focused on common themes and objectives. After all, we are at a “geospatial” event.

One thing we can ascertain is that there is a collective agreement that the technology (be it hardware or software) is developing at such a rate that we don’t know if what we are speaking about today will look dated in no time. A bit like those flip phones from 2005 – remember those? Now it seems we are looking for phones to be as large as possible. And of course, those we desired of yesteryear now look ancient. Has there ever been a time in history that feels racier in terms of progression?

If you look at the bigger picture, what is clear is our (perhaps inadvertent) desire to know where we are, or where something we own or care about is located. Greg Bentley’s keynote address focused on some current industry trends and potential opportunities for advancing infrastructure projects. A convergence between geospatial technologies and engineering technologies have significantly benefited our users around the globe, citing prime examples from excellent projects. From the Pope’s visit in Philadelphia, to coastal erosion in the city of Onkaprainga in Australia, (courtesy of Aerometrex and their product Smart3D Capture), the term introduced by Greg for this advancement is “Reality Modeling”. In a nutshell, this is the creation of highly detailed 3D models from simple photographs of existing infrastructure assets that can be used and shared by engineers and any user that might benefit from such technology.

The breakthrough though if you consider how the “geo-coordination” element will be added – which is the X and Y coordinates – is that the geometry of these assets is accurate. By using these engineering models and adding the “geo-coordination”, we see the potential and of course the convergence. Perhaps one safeguard against whether this will look dated or not might be solved if we ask the “WHY” you might use such models. Let’s take an example as to the WHY. Surveying of a construction offers the potential for continuous surveying to monitor progress of site conditions, inspections and a whole variety of disciplines. A construction site changes enormously over time, often without reference or the potential for field teams to resurvey against the previous versions. Now the users can cross-reference these models with a spatial and temporal dimension that offers an accurate inspection of their site. This ability, with minimal effort seems an obvious benefit and provides accurate data for those in the field. A drone may be a mandatory requirement for every fleet for continuous surveying purposes as we move forward with such technology.

The beauty is there is no need for specialized equipment. The creation is automated through the software and it really is as simple as that. Continuous surveying for detailed 3D models with “geo-coordination” will enable smarter infrastructure in India and ultimately lead to a better quality of life.

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