Yesterday and today I've been at a conference in Chicago called Enterprise Strategies for Location Intelligence USA 2011.
Geopatial should be another data type
For years, the geospatial industry has argued that most of IT (the number we have all heard is 80% of IT) would benefit from geolocation. Yesterday we heard from two of the major players in enterprise business intelligence (BI) that just linking business intelligence applications to a GIS is not enough, spatial needs to be part of BI. Xavier Lopez of Oracle and Don Campbell of IBM (Don's background is Cognos which was acquired by IBM), both made the case that geospatial needs to be an integral part of BI.
Geospatial data obesity
There is so much geospatial data these days coming from a variety of sources that one speaker used the term data obesity to describe the situation. The challenge is no longer data acquistion but making sense from all the geospatial data we have. An impressive example was provided by Andre Parris of Bloomberg who provide a services to investors based on monitoring on an daily, if not hourly, basis many world industries. Bloomberg has 30,000 data sources, from whom they license only raw data. Their objectrive is to monitor everything, especially information relating to infrastructure. For example, Bloomberg tracks every cargo vessel over 10,000 deadweight tons. As a specific example, Bloomberg can tell you where 127 bulk tankers are, where they are heading to and whether they are carrying cargo or not. To Bloomberg data is a cost, and Bloomberg's application Equity BMap turns it into value that Bloomberg sells as a service.
Using buses to monitor traffic flow
Another fascinating presentation was given by David Zavattero, Deputy Director of the Chicago Department of Transporation. Chicago is the US's third most congested city. His objective is to be able to monitor arterial traffic in Chicago to help reduce congestion. He found a very low cost and ingenious way to do this. Chicago Transit's 2300 buses are all equiped with GPSs that report location, speed, and other variables every 30 seconds. He was able to use this information to estimate automobile traffic speeds for 300 miles of arterial highway in Chicago. As a rough idea of the benefit to Chicagoans, based on this information, somewhere between 2-8% of the driving public may elect to take public transit, and 2-5% may change their route.