Day two commenced with a presentation from Alison Rose, the assistant secretary GEOINT at the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation. Her statistic of the day was that 60-70% of all defense inventory require GIS, from the land, air, sea to human. She spoke about people, processes, platforms and partnerships and about the data stack from raw data through metadata and managed data (quality controlled, for example) to data services and on to web services. I think this was a nice way to think about data, because while having the raw data in a warehouse or flat file repository is step one, you only get value out of data by documenting it and presenting it as visualisation or analysis layer. It’s turning data into a use-case for the business, into information and through a human into knowledge.
We also heard from Mark Limbruner, the president of GITA in North America, and what they’re doing there. He also presented on a case study in UAV surveying. We heard from Bob Owen, from QUT, who spoke about technology and services that are just around the corner, from augmented labor and robotics to additive manufacturing and new materials (like stainless magnesium). He sees Building Information Management (BIM) and GNSS enhancements as the next thing in the ICT space, which seems very reasonable. I wonder if it will take something revolutionary to bring BIM into the mainstream for asset management, which is a big enough beast as it is… BIM is being used at the project level, and is shown to lower total costs for projects by 33% (see Bob’s presentation for more detail).
Simon Costello from Geoscience Australia (GA) spoke about change management, and the prospects of an Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure (sounds pretty utopian, doesn’t it?!). He spoke about the foundation spatial data framework, and about how GA has a national role, not a commonwealth role (so all levels of government, not just the federal gov). He also spoke about the new elevation data access website, ELVIS. This site looks pretty good, but still doesn’t provide access to the raw data, such as the recent LiDAR across parts of Tasmania.
One of my favourite presentatiosn was from Phil Delaney, from the CRCSI. He demonstrated the NRM Spatial Hub, which was a project to design and GIS with the people, not for the people. It was a project managed by the CRCSI and delivered by AAM, and aimed at optimising the long-term carrying capacity of grazing land. It can be found at www.nrmhub.com.au. It’s simple, so one button to do one thing, and it’s low bandwidth and can save files for offline use. The target was to bring 40 properties on board and they have 300 in the system, so it’s vastly exceeded its goal, and it’s been presented on the front page of the NASA website (they use Landsat imagery as part of the analysis). In a similar trend, Matt Duckam presented on spatial tech supporting education and he has a system where kids can run the Phoenix Rapidfire bushfire similator. This is a bit of a trend in GIS, where we build tools to make difficult processes easier to run for people, bringing capability into the hands of people without weeks or months of training required.
The final session of the conference included Frank Marre from Aerometrex presenting on some cool technology around augmented virtuality. Augmented reality is rapidly progressing from an idea without an implementation to implementation without use-cases and soon to be a widely adopted technology that is used for everything. To get a really good overview of where we’re headed, read this article by Kevin Kelly. I really like the ideas around The Void, which is a VR theme park that uses stagecraft along with virtual reality headsets to do things like make it feel like you’ve just fallen through a whole floor (when in reality the ground fell six inches!).
Susan Harris talked about intelligent transport systems, and we heard about the BMW shape shifting concept, as well as how the worlds trucking fleet could all be autonomous in as little as fifteen years. Thomas Werner talked about laser scanning and how it relates to land surveyors, and finally, I gave my presentation on DevOps and running GIS in the cloud.
The final presentation for the conference was Matt Denman from Uber, who do a lot of incredible things with technology, including forward dispatch, which is giving a driver their next job before they’ve finished their current job. Helen Owens wrapped up the event with an announcement that Land Tasmania won the map competition (well done guys!) and we now know that the next Locate will be in Sydney, and held in conjunction with a couple of other major events, so it’ll be even bigger and even better.
I enjoyed the conference a lot, including presentations and networking. I think that the event is an excellent collaboration among the surveying and spatial industries in Australia and I’m definitely going to be trying my best to make it again in 2017.