The world is moving towards a bigger need for spatially intelligent tools

22May15
What can GIS do for a business?  In the retail space, it can be used to optimise logistics; to decide where a new distribution warehouse or a new outlet should be positioned; or to decide when seasonal perishable goods should be delivered to different shops around the country to minimise waste and maximise sales.  In utilities, it can be used to log assets and to help in planning such things as where to dig trenches for laying pipes and cables, ensuring that existing underground items are not impacted.  In education, it can be used as an educational tool to help students learn more about the world around them.
All of these are common usage cases and have been around for some time.  But GIS is also seeing other technologies come through that will play to its strengths.
Consider building information modelling (BIM) systems.  Here, vendors such as Arup, Autodesk and Bentley provide systems that are asset-focussed in dealing with how buildings are managed.  For example, a BIM system will contain details of all the items that make up a specific building: depending on the system, this could be at a high level (covering things like the chairs, tables and other fixed and non-fixed items placed within a building) through to highly granular systems that cover the components that went in to constructing the building in the first place – the type of concrete, the position of lintels, the type of glass used and so on.
BIM systems have historically been pretty much self-contained.  Items that were moved from one building to another, were broken and disposed of or replaced as part of standard maintenance procedures have had to be manually input into the system.  The internet of things (IoT) may be in a good position to help change this, though.
Some time back, there was the thought that radio frequency identification (RFID) tags would be used to track assets, but a lack of true standardisation and cost meant that except for with certain areas, this did not take off.  Now, as the IoT starts to take off, low cost sensors and monitors that are visible directly through existing networks will become possible. IoT tags can be attached to pretty much anything and monitored through the right systems – already, disposable temperature sensors are being dropped into concrete to optimise how concrete is poured, and the military are looking at using IoT devices in battlefield situations in a massive way.  BIM will be an obvious one for these – but it will also require spatial context.  Where, in both a 2D and 3D world, do these assets actually exist?  In real time, can they be plotted in a meaningful way?
And the assets may not just be the inanimate objects of chairs, tables, computers, vending machines and so on.  People are just as important when looking at the security needs of today’s highly dynamic environments.
Read the full article here.
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