Looking back ten years ago, it was near impossible to envisage what the surveying and spatial sector would look like today. Back then, GNSS for surveying was revolutionary, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) was a dream of the future and terms like IoT and big data were not yet in common use.
With technological advancements speeding up every year, the mind boggles at what to expect in the next ten years. Luckily, Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) has been busy assessing and compiling global technology trends and how they will shape the future of spatial and surveying.
The world has a nascent realisation that the digital transformation is providing us with a positioning and location capability that is precise, ‘always on’, and is tracked, stored and retrievable for instant or future use.”
Following on from the success of the 2014 edition, authors Isabel Coppa, Peter Woodgate and Zaffar Mohamed-Ghouse have come together to publish Global Outlook 2016: Spatial Information Industry. The 109 page compendium covers new research and insights into global technology developments, and links these larger movements to the spatial practitioner’s role in this future.
Overall, the paper provides an update on specific technological trends and advances that have a high likelihood of converging with the spatial industry, as well as how these are set to evolve over the coming years.
To help to frame these simultaneous developments, the report groups 18 spatial industry trends into four categories, ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Smart systems’, ‘People’ and ‘Issues’.
- Infrastructure: The internet; Wearable devices; Networks/connectivity; Satellites; Location; RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems)
- Smart systems: Spatial data; Spatial data infrastructure and analytics; Mapping systems; Big data, algorithms, applications; Smart system applications
- People: Health; Crowd Sourcing; Collaboration; Digital disruption
- Issues: Artificial Intelligence; Security and Privacy; Government digital transformation
The report concludes in saying that there is a sense that the world has a nascent realisation that the digital transformation is providing us with a positioning and location capability that is precise, ‘always on’, and is tracked, stored and retrievable for instant or future use. Once the issues like privacy and security have been adequately addressed, the applications of this vision are set to be enormous.