On Thursday and Friday of this week the Centre for Spatial Law and Policy is co-hosting a conference with Harvard University's Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA), Berkman Center of Internet and Society and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The conference, titled "Creating the Policy and Legal Framework for a Location-enabled Society" will be live-streamed and combines leaders from many of the diverse aspects of the geospatial community (many of whom are members of the Centre) with internationally-recognized academics and researchers from Harvard and other top universities.
If you have some time on Thursday and Friday you can watch/listen to the conference over the web. Details will be posted here.
Oxera incuded all interactive digital mapping and location-based data, products, and services in its definition of geospatial services. This includes providers of satellite imagery, digital maps, satellite positioning signals (GPS/GNSS), navigation devices, geographic information systems (GIS), and geospatial expert service providers. Digital maps include online maps and locally stored maps, but not hardcopy maps. Geospatial products and services generate direct revenue for companies such as ESRI, Garmen, or Digital Globe.
What is value ?
The study aims to quantify the impact of geospatial services on the world economy and consumer welfare. It breaks these impacts down into
direct effects - revenue generated by firms developong and providing geospatial data, products and services
consumer effects - the benefits that consumers, business and
government experience from using geospatial services from geospatial services
wider economic benefts - productivity and efficiency improvements resulting in cost savings from geospatial services
Economic impact of global geoservices
Global revenues from geospatial products and services as defined by Oxera is estimated to be $150-$270 billion per year. The geospatial industry is estimated to be growing by 13% per year through 2016. [ There are important assumptions that led to these numbers. The lower estimate of $150 billion/year was estimated using a bottom-up approach based on the Bloomberg BICS classification of companies worldwide and assumptions about allocating the revenue from companies that provide geospatial in addition to other services such as Trimble. The $270 billion number was estimated by scaling up the US revenue estimated by Boston Consulting Group to come up with a world estimate.]
Gross value added (GVA) is the grand total of all revenues ( from final sales and subsidies minus direct taxes ) which are incomes into businesses. Geospatial services are estimated to have a global GVA of $113 billion/year, which is about 0.2% of the world's GVA of $70 trillion.
Geospatial services provide benefits (not including direct purchases of geospatial products and services) to consumers. For example, enabling consumers to find the nearest Thai restaurant in seconds rather than leafing through the yellow pages and looking up the location on a map saves time. Finding the fastest route to the nearest hospital saves time and may actually save lives.
Some of the consumer benefts of geospatial services include time
savings, fuel savings, emergency response, education, and competition.
Examples of categories of consumer benefits include more efficient navigation, estimated to provide benefits of $22 billion/year, and educational benefits estimated to amount to $12 billion/year. Faster emergency response to cardiac arrests is estimated to potentially save 152 lives/year in the UK.
Wider economic impact
Geospatial services also make users more efficient. For
example, a trucking company that has installed GPS trackers on its
vehicles and uses location-aware routng software will be more efficient,
delivering items faster and more efficiently. There are also indirect benefits to the general public in
improved safety. By getting things to end users and
businesses faster and more safely, geospatial services facilitate economic activity.
For example, GPS/GNSS is estimated to provide $10 billion in cost savings to the global economy. Geospatial services are estimated to save 1.1 billion hours of travel time/year and to reduce fuel demand by 3.5 billion liters of gasoline/year.
It's nesting season in Southern Ontario. Geese are notoriously territorial about their nests, so finding a way across the campus at the Univerity of Waterloo (where the Blackberry was originally developed) that avoids goose nests is important.
The university's Open Data API Mapping Analysis and Design (MAD) has been applied to developing an online mapping program that allows students and faculty to find routes across campus that avoid reported goose nests.
Last night Carl Steinitz, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, gave two presentations. The first addressed the queston of how to organize education in geosdesign and was the result of Carl being invited to advise a specific university (which remained nameless).
Last night's talk was the actual presentation he gave at the university at the culmination of a week's visit to the university. The second was a personal history of the early days in the development of geodesign, primarily in the 60s.
Organizing education in geodesign
Geodesign involves bringing together the design professions (architecture and engineering), technology, the geographic sciences, and wha Carl calls the people of the place, the folks that are going to live in the result of a "geodesigned" environment. A major challenge arises from scale. Scientists approaach things from the universal anf global, designers from the local, even at the level of one building or one parcel.
Carl made the case that the most important thing that all students of geodesign, regardless of their background, need to learn is how to collaborate in a multi-disciplinary project environment involving architects, engineers, IT folks, and folks from geographically-oriented sciences. He made specific recommendations on how to do this, not generally applicable to all unversities but tailored to the specific unnamed univesity he had been asked to advise.
Carl Steinitz was part of these early developments. Last night he gave a personal perspective on the early days of geodesign.
From a technical perspective the developments I found most fascinating were the first computer geographic computer graphics that was created by hooking an IBM Selectric typewriter to a computer and using overprinting to create an approximation of grey scale thematic maps. The program to do this, SYMAP, was developed by Howard Fisher in 1963. When the Harvard Lab for Computer Graphics was founded in 1966, Howard Fisher was its first director. Carl also described some of the ways colour printing was simulated in these early days, and early 3D imagery.
An interesting recollection in this fascinating talk was that computing was introduced into the design course via tutorials as and when needed, not as a separate course.
Carl described the development of geodesign methodogies such as moving from traditional programming languages in the direction of what became map algebra, spatial analysis, automating aspects of design and using linear programming to optimize design. As Carl said they did it all, though some of it was too expensive at that time to be of practical use.
Geopatial Media is publishing a special annual edition of Geospatial World magazine in January. They have invited geospatial leaders representing the stakeholders communities of the geospatial industry globally to share their views and perspectives on different aspects of the geospatial eco-system.
I was invited to share my perspective on geospatial technology for the energy industry. I was quite amazed at the number of areas where geospatial technology plays an important, often critical role in the energy sector. I am including a few highlights here. The full article can be found in the January 2013 edition of Geospatial World Magazine.
Geospatial technology for the energy industry
Energy demand will increase by over one‐third between now and 2035. A massive investment of some $37 trillion in the world's energy supply system is needed during 2012‐2035. Environmental issues have become a major concern in the energy industry. It is projected that energy‐related CO2 emissions will rise from an estimated 31.2 Gt in 2011 to 37.0 Gt in 2035, leading to a long‐term average temperature increase at the Earth's surface of 3.6 °C. Just to reduce the estimated long‐term average temperature increase to 3 °C requires a significant investment in energy efficiency leading to energy intensity improvements 2.6 times the rate of the last 25 years.
Some examples where geospatial technology plays an important role in the energy sector ithat I discuss in the article nclude transmission line route routing; energy
density analysis to target buildings with high energy footprints; energy
performance optimization of buildings; vegetation management for
transmission lines; estimating solar potential and optimizing PV panel
positioning; reducing utility truck rolls by "bringing the field into the
office", disaster management; and increasing the value of enterprise
systems such as outage management, asset management, and work crew
dispatch by integrating geospatial technology..
Energy efficiency of buildings
Residential, commercial, and public buildings account for one-third of the globe's total final energy consumption, but 80% of the energy efficiency potential of buildings remains untapped. As a result improving the energy efficiency of buildings, both existing
and new structures, has become a global priority for governments and
A classic example of the application of geospatial techology in the energy sector is energy density analysis and mapping that helps utilities target energy conservation and demand response programs to high energy footprint buildings. [Image courtesy of Horiizon Utilities]
Energy performance analysis helps architects and engineers to optimize energy usage of new buildings, often motivated by programs such as LEED certification and energy conservation programs sponsored by electricity distribution companies. Combining detailed information about a building in the form of a building information models (BIM) together with geopatial information enables energy performance analyses of alternative design options that can reduce annual energy consumption and power bills by 40%. In some jurisdictions, programs supported by the local electric power utility means that reducing the expected electric power usage of a new building can generate an immediate financial benefit. [Image courtesy of 3D Energy Ltd].
Smart grid management system for operations and analytics
The volume of data generated by smart grid networks has been estimated to be 10,000 times greater than for our existing electrical networks, and much of the data is real-time. Managing large volumes of real-time data from sensors is simplified by integration with with geospatial technology that allows real-time monitoring and decision making. For example, it can provide useful outage information to the public in a way that protects the privacy of individual consumers as in this example when Hurricane Sandy caused outages in Toronto. [Image courtesy of Burlington Hydro]
In the UK the 1790's were responsible for two major advances, the elimination of scurvey in the Royal Navy through the issuance of limes, and the creation of the Ordnance Survey tasked with identifying sites for artillery placement along the English seacoast. Both contributed to preventing an invasion of the UK by Napoleon. Interestingly at roughly the same time a survey was being carried out in France from South to North to measure the meter, then defined as one ten millionth of a quarter of the Earth's circumference. If Napoleon had invaded Britain, it is interesting to speculate that Imperial units would have been replaced by SI in the early 19th C which might have avoided the units debates in modern times.
Since then as the world's first national mapping agency, the Ordnance Survey (OS) has been a model for other government mapping agencies around the world. The OS has just announced the formation of an international service, Ordnance Survey International, to provide specialist services to other national mapping agencies. It is estimated that location-based data contributes more than £100 billion to the UK economy. Ordnance Survey International will start in September 2012 and will be headed by Steven Ramage, former Executive Director at the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).. Carsten Roensdorf, currently with the OS in Southampton, will also be joining OS International and will be located in the Middle East. I've known both Steven and Carsten for many years. This is an outstanding team that will add a lot of value to national mapping internationally at a critical time when many of these organizations are experiencing rapid and dramatic changes.
He said that historically mapping and geomatics have been criitical to Canada's economic development, from the early surveyors who defined national boundaries, the Canadian cadastre, and railway right of ways, through the world's first geographic information system, the Canadian Land Inventory, developed in 1963, to the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI), which made Canada’s geospatial data and information available based on industry standards on the Web. The Minister mentioned Canada's open data initiative, the Canadian data portal, which sees over 11 million downloads per year, 90% of which is geospatial.
Specifically in the area of natural resources, he said that geomatics is an essential tool for evaluating projects from an environmental, social impact, and economic growth perspective. The mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors employ three quarters of a million people in Canada, and to ensure the continued development of these sectors the government has a pipeline of natural resource development projects wirth $500 billion over the next ten years. As an example, the Government of Canada is contributing to improved mapping of northern Quebec in support of Québec's $80 billion northern development initiative Plan Nord. The Minister siad that Canada intends to support responsible natural resource development for the benefit of the public including aboriginal peoples, but also protecting the environment. He said that the govenment has already announced its intention to streamline the review and approval process for major natural resource and infrastructure development projects.
The Minister Oliver announced the newest series of contribution agreements through GeoConnections, investments totalling $1.6 million over three years. This is the latest funding announement that are part of the $30 million five year Geoconnections program announced in 2010.
Autodesk and Pitney Bowes Software have announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance agreement that will serve as a framework for both companies to provide resources, services and solutions to help infrastructure owners and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) organizations across the plan, design, build, manage lifecycle of infrastructure. The agreement will enable Autodesk and Pitney Bowes Software to provide infrastructure professionals in transportation, government, utilities, and other key industries with a broad range of coordinated solutions for planning and asset management, design and operations and management. Under the terms of the strategic alliance agreement, Pitney Bowes Software and Autodesk will join forces to provide integrated GIS, analytics, BIM and asset management solutions to better address the needs of a global customer base. In addition, through coordinating the integration of existing applications, both companies will work together to deliver solutions which address some of the more immediate business issues within a number of vertical markets. The strategic alliance agreement also provides both organizations with the opportunity to develop specific, industry related, solutions in the future using the industry knowledge, products and services of both companies.
There are some interesting predictions for the geospatial sector that I've come across that identify some important trends for 2012 (not in any particular order).
The next great GIS isn’t a “GIS”–but rather...and here Brian Timoney goes on to talk about analytic and visualization tools that we will need in 2012 to deal with the "tides of Big Data, the sensor web, and the Internet of Things”.
Brian's predictions reminded me of the talk that Robert W. Burkhardt, the Army Geospatial Information Officer (GIO), gave at a DLT event in June of 2010 in which he said that for the Army, at that time with access to more and better data sources than ther rest of us, in the past the lack of data was a problem, now the challenge is increasingly being able to integrate and analyze in order to extract information from the huge volumes of data that are now available. His words were "extracting actionable information by exposing patterns from the huge, chaotic volume of data pouring out of many stovepipes."
Open source geospatial - Joe Francica predicts that open source gets its act together, specifically, Joe says that the "Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) needs to transition itself from a movement of programmers to a cohesive group of businesses that can leverage the movement." Joe predicts that "open source companies [will] step out of the shadows and become a marketing force. Either OSGeo takes the lead in supporting the group or individual companies will seek other professional support."
Adena Schutzberg in her predictions goes a step further and predicts that "OpenGeo will do the hard work of building credibility (and support) for enterprise use of open source. It will do for open source GIS what Esri did for GIS. The company has and will continue to take the baton from OSGeo to get the software into wider spread use. (And it will make money doing so.)"
Enterprise Geospatial - Joe Francica mentions three specific areas, cloud, big data analytics (echoing Brian Timoney's prediction), and social business and mobile computing.
Cloud: Joe says that geospatial companies need to offer solution-based cloud services. "Google has Google Earth Builder; Esri has ArcGIS.com and the others better get on the band wagon or die." He also sees geospatial data and software being offered by integrated companies, for example, "GeoEye buying a company like PCI Geomatics or DigitalGlobe buying or merging with Exelis VIS." Adena Schutzberg predicts that in 2012 the biggest impact that cloud computing will have will be on education. "Educators can and will teach introductory courses using 100% Web resources by the end of 2012."
Big data analytics – Joe predicts that "location intelligence will move in this direction and lead big data analytics."
Social Business & Mobile Computing – Joe sees "a movement toward location-based business (LBB): taking all the aspects of Internet socialization and combining this with the mobile ecosphere. Salesforce.com is doing it and you see just about every enterprise software company coming out with some form of mobile business application. The element of location-based business will be huge."
Mr Geoff Zeiss – Autodesk (Canada), Director of Technology – International trends and perspectives
According to Ken Lyons, the labour shortage in this sector is severe in Queensland and getting worse. One of the causes of the problem is the aging of the labour force. Related challenges are attracting new entrants and the rapidly increasing demand, especially for technicians. Demand for professionals is also increasing, but not as rapidly as for technicians.
The challenge of atracting new entrants is reflected in university-level spatial courses being undersubscribed which has resulted in some geospatial courses being discontinued. Lynnette Terrett described an initiative called Destination Spatial that is intended to attract more entrants into geospatial technology, especially from among Generation Y.