LATEST ARTICLES

Geoawesomeness Digital Meetup Schedule for 2021

Geoawesomeness Digital meetup is all about bringing the spatial community together and enabling interactions within the community whether it’s for fun and/or profit. And along the way, we hope that the meetup will help us all better understand how location data and technology are transforming the world for the better.

We are quite excited about our digital meetup series and it’s great to see that you are excited about it as well! We promise it’s going to be #geoawesome! In the meantime, if you have ideas/suggestions for us to make this a regular feature on your calendar, do let us know!

Interested in working with us?

Interested in hosting an event together with the team? Let’s talk! Send an email to info@geoawesomeness.com

Upcoming Events

Digital Meetup #14 on 23rd June 2021 – Maps, IoT, and Smart Cities (supported by GreyMatter)

Digital Meetup #15 on 28th July 2021 – Reality Capture, Drones and Analytics (supported by DroneDeploy)

Digital Meetup #16 5th August 2021 – Advanced Construction and Engineering (Supported by Cesium)

Digital Meetup #17 23rd September 2021 – Property Data-as-a-Service (supported by LoveLand Technologies)

Missed a presentation?

Watch all the presentations on Geoawesomeness YouTube Channel.

Past Events

Digital Meetup #9 on 18th February 2021 – Location, Location, Location: Using travel time and transport data for making business decisions (supported by TravelTime)

Digital Meetup #10 on 24th March 2021 – Location Intelligence and the Counter-drone use case (supported by Carmenta)

Digital Meetup #11 on 8th April 2021 – 5D Location Intelligence and Situational Awareness (supported by Luciad Hexagon Geospatial)

Digital Meetup #12 on 28th April 2021 – Unlocking Geospatial Technology for Game Engines (Supported by Cesium)

Digital Meetup #13 on 6th May 2021 – Common Operating Picture for Real-time Geospatial threats (supported by DataCapable)

Digital Meetup #1 to #8 were held in 2020 – information and details available here https://geoawesomeness.com/2020-geoawesomeness-digital-meetup-schedule/

Calling Geo-Researchers: Help Us by Blogging Your Work!

We want to bridge the disconnect between Geo-research and Geotech.

Geographic information systems (GIS) was once a mere concept of quantitative and computational geography. Thanks to Michael Goodchild, research on key topics such as spatial analysis and visualization were formalized.

While serving as an assistant professor, Roger Tomlinson worked as the manager of the computer mapping division at Spartan Air services. His pioneering work to plan and developer the Roger Tomlinson’s pioneering work to initiate, plan, and develop the Canada Geographic Information System resulted in the first computerized GIS in the world in 1963. Both of these legends were working in the university when they changed the future by creating what we today call GIS.

Fast forward to today, What are scientists and researchers doing with location data? What are the biggest research projects in the universities concerning geospatial data and analysis? Once finished with our studies or academic careers, it is easy to be distanced away from the research world. At Geoawesomeness, we would like to do our part to bridge the disconnect between Geo-research and Geotech and help usher in further innovation and collaboration in the industry.

So far…

At Geoawesomeness, we’ve previously helped researchers with their work by sharing information about their research surveys and by blogging about the state of GIScience. Knowing that there are so many research institutions working in the domain of GIScience and that many other topics are becoming inherently location-based, we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to showing our audience what’s going on at the forefront of science! No one knows about the latest happenings in the research world better than you researchers working in the field!

Hence, we have decided that we are actively going to invite more people to write about their work and research with the rest of our community. We’re very curious about what problems you’re trying to solve, what approaches you’re taking, and what you’ve learned so far. Writing about your research will help you reach a wide and enthusiastic audience, with Geoawesomeness reaching over 170 000 page visits each month! It will also help accelerate the adoption of geotech across the world, positively helping impact our communities. We hope that our Georesearch initiative can also expose you to other areas of research and get connected to other researchers and geogeeks.

We are passionate about exploring the intersection of science, technology, and location and usually write about all topics where we see such a connection. While the definition of a geo-topic is open by nature, just to give you a better example,

We’re interested in

  • AR/VR,
  • autonomous driving, computer vision, navigation,
  • big data (geospatial),
  • blockchain, decentralization
  • citizen science
  • drones, remote sensing, photogrammetry
  • location intelligence, location data analytics,
  • machine learning, AI
  • mobility as a service, smart cities, and many more!

If you are working as a researcher either at the university or at a research lab, this is your chance to share your work outside the academic world. Who knows? Perhaps your work is going to change the industry just like how Michael Goodchild and Roger Tomlinson did in the past century. Send me an email or say hello to us via Twitter 🙂

Win Free Satellite Imagery with UP42’s Copernicus Masters Challenge

The field of Earth observation and applications for EO data are expanding rapidly. However, developers and data scientists who possess the next big idea for using EO data often face a major roadblock: limited funds and resources.

Luckily, the 2021 Copernicus Masters Challenges are here to support tech-savvy innovators as they bring their ideas to life. Copernicus Masters is a set of global challenges asking participants to use EO data to improve and preserve daily life. Through the challenges, participants compete for prizes to back their work such as free data and cash winnings.

UP42, a global provider of geospatial data through its platform and marketplace, is offering a Copernicus Masters challenge as one of the program’s partners. The company is calling on researchers, companies, and students to develop an image augmentation algorithm to address common issues hindering EO analytics. 

Copernicus Masters Challenge by Up42

To qualify, these algorithms must use generative adversarial networks (GANs)—an innovative deep learning approach that is becoming an industry standard for its ability to produce higher-resolution imagery from low-resolution data input.

Participants will focus their algorithm on solving one of three issues:

  1. Unsupervised change detection—GANs can be used to generate better coregistered images via synthetic image generation.
  2. Clouds and shadows in optical satellite imagery—these obstacles affect almost all land, water, and atmosphere applications.
  3. Super-resolution satellite imagery—increasing the resolution can widen the range of objects detected from a given data set.

To develop an algorithm, participants will have access to very-high-resolution imagery from UP42’s content partner Airbus and data from all Sentinel missions via the sobloo platform. 

UP42 chose to offer this challenge because it ties in with the company’s core mission of democratizing access to Earth insights. By offering access to data and the tools to innovate with Earth observation, the company hopes to inspire more change-makers to think beyond what’s currently being done in the industry to solve real-world challenges like climate change and food insecurity.

Winner Takes All for UP42 Challenge

To determine the challenge winner, projects will be judged on four criteria: scientific value, product and business value, quality of implementation, and ecological impact.

The winner of the UP42 challenge will receive three rewards to support their work:

  • OneAtlas Prize: a voucher to access commercial satellite data from Airbus
  • UP42 Prize: a voucher to access geospatial data and algorithms from the UP42 marketplace
  • Satellite Data: up to EUR 10,000 worth of commercial datasets from the Copernicus Contributing Missions

Copernicus Masters will also have an overall winner who will take home a EUR 10,000 prize—a solid investment for turning their project into a full-fledged business.

To compete for these prizes, be sure to register, choose the UP42 partner challenge, and enter your project details into the secure database by 19 July 2021. Submissions will be evaluated by October, and challenge finalists will be notified by November. In December, an awards ceremony will recognize the Copernicus Masters winner. 

Need a little inspiration before starting your project? Check out the past winners’ Hall of Fame to see what’s possible in the Copernicus Masters Challenges.

Hexagon Luciad Platform (and Hexagon office) – Inside Out

Join Nele Coghe as she takes us on a virtual visit to the Hexagon office where the Luciad platform is developed.

Introduction to LuciadRIA for developers

Robin Houtmeyers and Glenn Croes from Hexagon explain all the ins and outs of LuciadRIA platform in this video.

Introduction to Satellite Image Augmentation with Generative Adversarial Networks

UP42 is looking for algorithms that leverage generative models (GANs) in the context of Earth Observation (EO) to provide new ways of performing EO analytics. The startup is calling on researchers, companies and students to develop algorithms for these types of image augmentation. Learn more about this challenge – head over to the Copernicus Masters website.

Avoidance Mapping: What It Is & Where It Fits in the Cartography Cube

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“… we all try to steer clear of certain places and people, whether we’re aware of it or not.” (Source)

Currently, my preferred route home is through a residential estate. Its definitive characteristic is close-knit houses, children playing outside and a few ‘vibandas’ (makeshift stalls). Perhaps it’s the sense of community that draws me here. Or maybe it’s because after so many years, the place remains unchanged.  

Unlike me, not everyone prefers this route. Some avoid it despite—or perhaps because of—the things that draw me. While our routes change based on different circumstances, the common ground is that they’re determined by the things we’re trying to avoid. 

Mapping the Things We Avoid

What if we could create a map of the routes we follow and the people/ things we avoid? 

Well, that is what members of the Perfect City working group did. At a workshop, they asked people living in New York City (NYC) to draw maps of what, whom, or where they avoided. The result? Avoidance Maps.

I first heard about avoidance mapping on episode 034 of Isn’t That Spatial podcast.

The idea of creating maps based on people’s experiences with navigating the city intrigued me. For some reason, it made me think about the cartography cube, and the space avoidance maps occupy therein. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Why Produce Avoidance Maps?

Maps help people see what isn’t obvious from tables/ text. But what would make someone spend their time and effort producing avoidance maps? 

In this case, creating avoidance maps made the participants understand who they were in NYC in a new way. Specifically, the avoidance maps were:

  1. Useful in seeing how the ability to navigate a place successfully depended on knowledge of the place and the feeling of belonging
  2. Provocative because they showed that what/ whom you avoid says as much about you as avoidances themselves
  3. Creative because they led to formation of new narratives about the city from different points of view

Above all, the maps helped to see how gender, race, class, and geographic backgrounds inform “belonging” in the city.

“It turns out mapping what we avoid also shows us where we feel we belong.” (Source

Understanding the Cartography Cube

In response to the divergent definitions and views of visualization by cartographers, Professor Alan M. MacEachren formulated a graphic representation of visualization. It was based on treating cartography as a cube, hence ‘cartography cube’. 

MacEachren’s cartography cube

The cartography cube deals with kinds of map use—and not kinds of maps. Therefore, based on how a map is used, it may occupy any space within the cube. 

“The fundamental idea is that map use can be conceptualized as a three-dimensional space. This space is defined by three continua: (1) from map use that is private (where an individual generates a map for his or her own needs) to public (where previously prepared maps are made available to a wider audience); (2) map use that is directed toward revealing unknowns (where the user may begin with only the general goal of looking for something “interesting”) versus presenting knowns (where the user is attempting to access particular spatial information); and (3) map use that has high human-map interaction (where the user can manipulate the map(s) in substantive ways – such as effecting a change in a particular map being viewed, quickly switching among many available maps, superimposing maps, merging maps) versus low interaction (where the user has limited ability to change the presentation).” (MacEachren 1994, p. 6-7)

There are two extremes in the cube. Geographic visualization on one corner and cartographic communication in the other. While all maps contain both visualization and communication, the major difference is the emphasis on visualization or communication at various locations within this space. Emphasis is determined by the primary use of the map—which affects the approach to map design.

Where Does Avoidance Mapping Fit In the Cartography Cube?

Looking at where the avoidance maps by NYC residents fit on each axis of the cartography cube:

Private vs public map use

I would say that avoidance maps occupy the private map use space. This is because the maps were used to help individuals/ small groups of individuals to think spatially. In this case, the maps helped residents, urban planners and architects think spatially about belonging in the city.

Map use directed towards revealing unknowns vs presenting knowns

The avoidance maps were meant to show what it looks like steering clear of certain places and people. It was an exercise designed to lead to conversations about gentrification and displacement, safety and perception. It’s a lens through which to look at bias, belonging, and other subjects. 

By mapping the things people avoid, the maps reveal how different people experience and access urban space. Therefore, avoidance maps are directed towards revealing unknowns.

Map use that has high human-map interaction vs low interaction

According to MacEachren, map use can’t take place without some level of interaction. Furthermore, while the use of a computer increases the level of human-map interaction and hence visualization with maps, it isn’t always necessary. Maps can be interactive if they’re drawn in a way that aids visual thinking/ mental visualization. Nevertheless, computer tools expand the possibilities for interaction and hence visual thinking.

Even though the avoidance maps were two-dimensional images hand drawn on paper, they were nonetheless interactive in the sense that they enabled one to mentally visualize the things/ places being avoided.

Note that I don’t dispute that if the maps were represented on a computer, they would be more interactive—and even allow for integration of additional data such as imagery. What I’m saying is that their display on paper doesn’t make them non-interactive.

Other Thoughts…

Photo by MA7EO on Unsplash

When I first read about avoidance maps, my first thought was how great it would be if everyone shared their avoidance map publicly. What would we learn about urban spaces? Would we discover issues we didn’t know existed before and therefore deal with them?

On further reading, I realised that while mapping represents reality, it also affects how we construct this reality. Sparke called this the proleptic effect of mapping which he defines as: “the way maps contribute to the construction of spaces that later they seem only to represent.”

Making me pose the question: “If people in my (your) community publicly published their avoidance maps, would this affect the things and places I (you) avoid?” My answer is yes. I’d avoid things and places avoided by the majority—a case of a map affecting the reality it represents. What would this mean for urban spaces?

What does your avoidance map look like? Where would you place it in the cartography cube and would you be for or against publicising avoidance maps?

References

This article has also been posted on Geohub blog.

Supply Chain in the Earth Observation sector

The Earth Observation community is growing and people are starting to find each other on online social platforms. That is why, in March 2021, Steven Ramage, Keiko Nomura and Flávia Mendes opened a room at ClubHouse platform in the Earth Observation club to discuss EO for good from the private sector perspective. The result was very interesting and it led to more topics that the community would like to discuss. Therefore, we had the idea to continue it, but this time on Spaces/Twitter APP. In this second meeting, we discussed supply chains in the context of Earth Observation. This meeting’s expert guests were Arjen Vrielink (Satelligence), Bernardo Rudorff (Agrosatélite) and Sarah Middlemiss (Ecometrica) and shared their experiences and views on the subject.

A nice, informal chat sprouted. In addition to the guests’ examples of the use of Earth Observation in supply chains that mostly work in the commodities sector in developing countries, listeners also chipped in by raising technical and commercial aspects.

On the technical side, the challenges of centralizing high accuracy data into a single database are ample. The Global Forest Watch (GFW) [1] data has a spatial resolution of 30 meters and is available all over the world.  In this case, it is necessary to consider the possible generalization errors; especially in transition zones that have a great floristic variability, this can ‘confuse’ algorithms in the identification of forest or non-forest. For this, local data such as the PRODES [2] deforestation data of the Amazon processed by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) can contribute to overcome this challenge, since the algorithms are trained specifically with the floristic variability of this specific region, such as the Amazon Forest. Additionally, PRODES data are very useful in monitoring the conversion of native vegetation such as in the case of the Soy Moratorium [3]. This discussion leads us to another aspect of the technical challenges: what is deforestation? Is deforestation clear cut, forest disturbance, selective logging or plantation replanting? The definition of these terms by each institution or company influences analysis results.

Apart from differences in datasets and definitions like between PRODES and GFW, vegetation mapping faces other challenges. Take, for example, the case of cocoa mapping. Influence of the overlap of larger trees in relation to the canopy cover challenges mapping cocoa plantations. Some ideas to overcome this challenge have emerged, such as the use of ‘fuzzy’ gradients rather than sharp boundaries resulting from probabilistic algorithms.

If we think about the commercial aspects that may drive the use of Earth Observation in the supply chain, we can start with the incentives why a company should or should not do this type of analysis. Government regulations? Fines? Marketing&PR (green washing)? Stockholder value? Changing consumer behavior? Or a combination of all these options? It is important to realize that EO companies should understand the pains and gains of supply chain stakeholders that their products or services address.

Additionally, there is the question of ethics and the limitations of products that EO companies can offer in the supply chain. One of the guests asked the relevant question: if your client is asking for a shiny map you could deliver but not at scale (temporal, spatial), do you deliver the shiny map? Unconditionally? Decisions like this are important as part of the work a society must do to reduce the impacts of climate change. Here we see that the challenges in the EO community are not only technical but also ethical, economic and maybe even political. How do you manage expectations? Not only in the short run, but also in the long run.

The discussion showed that much has been achieved, especially with regard to the volume of different earth observation data. However, there are also many challenges still to overcome related to the accuracy of Earth Observation and field data. Additionally, there has to be more communication between the beginning, middle and end of the supply chain. This communication could be facilitated by EO derived products and services to create an evidence based area of discourse.

Stay tuned on these twitter accounts (@Steven_Ramage @Keiko_geo and @flasmendes) for more information on upcoming meetings.

Links:

[1] https://www.globalforestwatch.org/

[2] http://terrabrasilis.dpi.inpe.br/en/home-page/

[3] https://abiove.org.br/en/relatorios/

Why Is It So Hard to Get the Geo Message Across?

Use these tips and practical challenges and see the way people look at you change dramatically

 

It's hard to get the geo message across

 

Remember your interview process for your “GIS Expert” position at the MNC you’re working at? 

An MNC! Sure, their main business isn’t GIS. Still. What an opportunity. 

… was it really that long ago…?

You were so hopeful and swore you’d change the way people think of geospatial. Everyone says it’s important and yet… it’s always an afterthought.

(Bit like copywriting, if you ask me. People realize they need words once they realize other things don’t seem to work.)

Are people even interested in what you’re doing? Why is your job an afterthought? Or a line item, at best?

 

 

Just because it’s your thing, it doesn’t make it other people’s thing too

Think back to the last time you went shopping for a bicycle pump. 

… if you haven’t needed one because you don’t have a bicycle, stay with me…

You go to Decathlon and face an entire aisle of pumps. You don’t want to buy the cheapest (who buys the cheapest, it’ll probably break after the first use?). You also don’t want to buy the most expensive pro-version, either. 

You only need it just in case.

So you ask a salesperson. He’s about 25 and he’s cool. He loves talking about bicycles and pumps. He goes into a 5-min lecture on the difference between models. 

Is it rude to stop him? I’ll never spend that much money on this.

You listen politely, afraid to admit he left you even more confused than before. 

I just wish there were only 3 pumps available. Cheap, mid-price and pro. Why is this so difficult?

In the end, you take the 2nd cheapest. 

I mean, who buys the cheapest? And you’re not a pro. 

So 2nd cheapest it is.

Do you see how people coming to you for geospatial stuff are like that version of you in the bike shop?

All they want is a quick map with all the hospitals in town and what do they usually get? 

A long list of things they can get from you because you can totally do that for what they’re looking for. 

Heck. You even give them more suggestions — you’re just helpful and you can see how those would help them even more.

Is it rude to stop you? All they wanted was a quick map…

So they stand there politely and thank you for your help. They’ll send you an email soon, but first, they have to go back to their desks and read through your list again. They never realized you do… all that? 

Not just maps on apps, symbols, and… data? Isn’t that what the IT people also do? Maybe they shouldn’t have asked you at all.

A couple of days pass and you get an email with their request — ignoring everything you told them.

All they want is a map.

Sigh. 

Is this ever going to get better? 

What do you have to do to get your voice heard?

 

 

Educate your prospects

If you educate people around you, you’ll get better prospects walking up to your desk — better questions and relevant problems and less selling on your side.

Here’s the thing though. You’ll have to do the educating part yourself.

Even if that means stepping out of your comfort zone.

 

 

Visibility

Are you even visible where you work? Apart from the GIS and IT departments, do people know who you are?

If not, how do you think they’d know what you do, for whom and why?

But I smile and say hello to everyone in the lift. Plus accept everyone on LinkedIn. I mean, I’m even connected with that marketing person, Kelly or Kelsey?

It can be uncomfortable, especially for introvert-type people, but you really do have to make a better effort. 

Next time you share a table with someone at the cafeteria, instead of mumbling about the weather or the latest sports as your best attempt at “visibility”, say,

“What are you working on these days?” 

Expect a stare.

“Just asking. I’m making June the month of “What can GIS do for you”. I’m asking everyone what they’re working on so I can pitch something mind-blowing I can do for them. My boss said to go ahead.”

This can go a couple of ways:

  1. If they’re willing, they’ll talk. 

Don’t offer to solve their problem. The purpose of the conversation is to… well, start a conversation. Don’t jump to conclusions or offer to solve their problem before they finish their lasagne and salad.

2. If they look at you weird, say,

“That’s okay if nothing comes to your mind right now. Just send me an email if you do have something you need brainstorming on.”

Tuck into your pasta and talk about the weather and sports. 

You’ve done well. You’ve gone out of your way.

 

 

Expertise

Anyone can do this. 

Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Write a line of code. Follow someone on Twitter.

Go over to a Gdoc and write up a one-pager about it. 

Templatize. Make it fun. Add 3 screenshots.

Send it to all your team and your boss. 

Subject: “Something I learned from X. A 1-min read.”

Now go over to Twitter and post a few lines about your findings.

But I’m just a nobody. I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

Even if that’s true there will be people 10% behind you and what you’re saying is brand new to them. 

The people who already know what you’re saying will appreciate your efforts and will remember you.

The rest? 

You can’t please everyone. 

Welcome the rest, too; they’re teaching you an important lesson.

 

 

The Rule of 7 (formerly known as the Rule of 3)

Back in the 2000s, all respectable marketing books talked about the “Rule of 3.” 

People have to see you, your name or your picture three times before they feel they know you (even if they don’t personally do). 

All marketing campaigns were crafted with this rule until a couple of years ago.

When things changed. 

Everyone’s competing for attention in today’s new attention economy…

You now need to be on someone’s radar at least seven times before they recognize you — and you can move from cold to warm status.

The bad news is that it’s up from three. The good news is that they don’t have to talk to you seven times or reply to your Tweets and emails seven times.

They just need to see your name/profile picture seven times.

Challenge 1: Implement the Rule of 7. Post seven times this month on LinkedIn and tell me you didn’t make any traction, make new connections or start a single conversation as a result.

Seven little seeds this month and watch those plants grow…

 

 

 

Your personal Value Prop

Job title:

“Geospatial Analyst”

Sure. But what can you do for people?

Can you summarize it in two sentences? If you were a website, what would your hero section be?

John Smith

Geospatial Analyst

GIS stuff as and when you need it. 

Click here.

How would people know outside of your department what you do from this?

 

 

 

They’ll know when you tell them

Challenge 2: fill in this template and memorize it. Print a copy and display it at your desk. 

Watch people respond to it. 

It’s a conversation starter magnet. 

I do ………………. for ……………..

(geospatial jargons and phrases the rest of the world doesn’t know are not allowed).

Example

I analyze data for environmental people who need a visual representation of it.

Good. Can we make it better?

I analyze data for environmental people who need a visual representation of it because it would be hard to explain to people otherwise/that’s the best way for that data set.

Longer, but better. Can we cut it down?

Data analysis for everything environmental. Hard-to-explain concepts in easy-to-digest visual forms.

Totally making this up — but you get my point. You just went from Geospatial Analyst to a concrete thing you can give to people without weighing them down with the how.

Challenge 3: Put this up in your cubicle/workstation and wait for people to ask about why it’s there. 

Make it your Zoom background.

Include it in your LinkedIn profile tagline.

Try to fit it into the very next email you write to someone.

Say these words when people ask you at family gatherings what it is you’re doing these days… again?

Bonus challenge: make it visual and use it as your banner on your social media.

 

 

What’s next?

When you’re comfortable doing all this, at your next weekly meeting suggest (yes, you!) that you’d like to be featured in the next company newsletter and talk about the department.

Offer to make a five-minute presentation on a passion project you’ve been working on.

Find a charitable organization that needs geospatial help and call upon people to join you.

Keep trying. Put yourself out there and remember, you can’t please everyone. But there will be some that you’ll impress along the way.

The Location of Things – Maps, IoT and Digital Twins – GDM #14

Making our cities more sustainable is one of the biggest challenges that faces humanity in the 21st century; so much so that the United Nations in all its wisdom has identified it as one of the 17 goals for the planet: United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #11 to transform our world – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

With less than 9 years left to achieve the ambitious goals set out for our cities, 2020-2030 is being touted as the decade of action! As with many things in life, What gets measure gets managed and measuring the transformation of a city towards a more sustainable future is not simple task. How do we use the tools at hand to help local policy makers and city agencies to make their cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable? To be more precise, how can geospatial data and technology help tackle this challenge?

The Location of Things – 14th Geoawesomeness Digital Meetup

We teamed with our friends over at Microsoft Azure, Grey Matter and Evident Proof to deep deeper and talk about the role of Internet Of Things (IoT), Digital Twins and Maps in helping transform our cities and buildings.

You can join us live, listen to 4 amazing talks and network with the rest of the spatial community during the event on 23rd June (registration link).

The WHAT and How of transforming our cities  

Digital technologies can transform a city and interconnect key areas of its ecosystem. Although few places in the world have moved beyond pilots or specific initiatives, more cities are beginning to use sensor data, digital twins, automation and control systems for urban planning, visualisation, simulation of the urban environment, connecting citizens to services, and operating city infrastructure through city management dashboards.

Digital Twins

The concept of digital twins – a digital model and representation of real-world environment brought to life with real time data from sensors and other data sources – has entered the realm of smart cities and promises to enable city administrations and urban planners to make better decisions with the help of data integration and visualisation from across the urban space.

Location and Geospatial services

Understanding and operating an environment as complex and interdependent as a city needs a lot of data and maps are a fundamental tool for making sense of that for planning and operations.

Maps can help you understand the data from sensors more easily by seeing them in context; they also turn out to the be a logical way to organise and manage ontologies and hierarchies of smart devices into a smart building.

The role of Microsoft Azure in all of this

Microsoft Azure Digital Twins platform enables modelling and creating digital representations of connected environments like buildings, factories, farms, energy networks, railways, stadiums, and cities, then brings these entities to life with a live execution environment that integrates IoT and other data sources. To drive openness and interoperability, Azure Digital Twins comes with an open modelling language, Digital Twins Definition Language (DTDL), which provides flexibility, ease of use, and integration into the rest of the Azure platform.

Location can also be important in modelling and predictive maintenance for gaining insight and making data-driven decisions. Azure Maps provides mapping and geospatial services including access to real-time traffic, transit planning, route-finding, and weather data that are a key part of the smart city opportunity which is why Microsoft’s Smart City IoT services integrate closely with Azure Maps.

About Geoawesomeness Digital Meetup

The main objective for us at Geoawesomeness to host these meetups is to bring the community together to talk about how geospatial data and tools is transforming the world for the better. Think of these events as an open-source project aimed at enabling conversations and cross-industry cooperation. Each event has at least one speaker from the industry that is using geospatial data and tools to solve problems.

Since the middle of 2020, we hosted 13 events until date and already have plans for many more in 2021 (2021 schedule). More than 5000 GeoGeeks from all over the world attended the events so if you are looking for (virtual) opportunities to network with the geospatial community, the Geoawesomeness Digital Meetup is the place to be!

The event is hosted by Muthu and Aleks. You will find their contact details below.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/muthukumarkumar muthu@geoawesomeness.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/aleksanderbuczkowski/ aleks@geoawesomeness.com

Join us in Digital Earth Symposium for Sustainable Societies – ISDE12

In Geoawesomeness’s 10 Year Anniversary, we are celebrating by featuring stories about Humanitarian OpenStreeetMap and MapAction. It’s awesome to know that there are other groups of people working on the same goal.

Under the motto “Digital Earth for Sustainable Societies”, the Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, University of Salzburg is hosting “ISDE12 – International Symposium for Digital Earth 2021” in Salzburg from July 6th to 8th 2021. 

The conference addresses the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and showcases ways how the concept of “Digital Earth” can help to achieve them. In particular, the European Commission, in cooperation with ESA, is presenting the “Destination Earth” initiative that aims for solutions for climate change and for a climate-neutral Europe. Besides, GeoHumanitarian, Digital Twins, and Youth Forum are held in ISDE12 to discuss the solutions for improving livelihoods around the planet.

ISDE12 is organized as a hybrid event. The registration to ISDE12 is now open. Please use our Conference software for the registration: https://www.conftool.com/giweek2021/

About ISDE

The International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE) aimed at harnessing the world’s data and information resources to describe and digitally represent our planet, and to monitor, measure, and forecast natural and human activities on earth.

Digital Earth is the name given to a concept by former US vice president Al Gore, describing a virtual representation of the Earth connected to the world’s digital knowledge. In his remarkable 1998 speech, Gore described a digital future where children – indeed all the world’s citizens – could interact with a computer-generated three-dimensional spinning virtual globe and access vast amounts of scientific and cultural information to help them understand the Earth and human activities.

The 2009 Beijing Declaration of Digital Earth stated “Digital Earth is an integral part of other advanced technologies including: earth observation, geoinformation systems, global positioning systems, communication networks, sensor webs, electromagnetic identifiers, virtual reality, grid computation, etc. It is seen as a global strategic contributor to scientific and technological developments, and will be a catalyst in finding solutions to international scientific and societal issues.”

Since 1999, 11 International Symposia and 7 summits on Digital Earth, organized by ISDE have been held in 12 countries around the world. ISDE also publishes the International Journal of Digital Earth and Big Earth Data journal, and Manual of Digital Earth. In addition, ISDE is a member of the Group on Earth Observations, International Science Council, and Geospatial Societies of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management.

The Vision

“Digital Earth” was introduced as a vision in 1998 by the then US Vice President Al Gore. He described a digital future where everybody will be able to interact with a computer-generated three-dimensional spinning virtual globe and access vast amounts of scientific and cultural information to help them understand the Earth and human activities – with technology so easy that even a child can operate it. Digital Earth may destine to become the defining scientific and technological achievement of the 21st Century. This grand challenge will demand extreme computing for the most demanding Big Data challenges, the smartest applications of artificial intelligence, webs of sensors and actuators, and compelling gamification and visualisation methods. Most importantly, it will require agile minds collaborating in cross-discipline innovation and scientific pursuit. Young people in particular, as ‘digital natives’, are adept to connecting local action and global changes through mixed-reality media to open online services.

The mission

The International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE) has been dedicated to implementing this vision since 2006. This is made possible by advances in ongoing Earth observation using sensors in space and on the surface, the establishment of extensive geodata infrastructures and the development of dynamic geomedia. The Department of Geoinformatics at the University of Salzburg has contributed to these developments in a leading position for decades. This was recognized by the invitation to host the Digital Earth Symposium (https://digitalearth2021.org) in Salzburg in July 2021.

Host organization – University of Salzburg

The Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS at the University of Salzburg is an interdisciplinary Centre of Competence for Geoinformatics and geospatial data management, integrating basic and applied research with graduate education and outreach activities.

By applying innovative spatial concepts and methodologies, Z_GIS are contributing to the management of our societies, businesses and environments. As an Interfaculty Department, Z_GIS develop geospatial competences across disciplines, offering graduate study programme in residential as well as distance learning modes. Our global network of partners from academia and industry serves as a strong platform for joint research and exchange of students and faculty – supporting the worldwide geospatial community and fostering awareness of the spatial dimension of social and natural phenomena.
www.zgis.at | zgis@sbg.ac.at | twitter: @Z_GIS1

AGIT & GI_week: joint exhibition

Z_GIS organizes conferences since 1989. Over 1000 people attend the biggest scientific conference – the AGIT Symposium & GI_Forum – at the University of Salzburg in the field of Geoinformatics each year. In 2021, these two symposia together with the ISDE12 will share the innovative international EXPO in 2021 and attract an even broader audience to the University of Salzburg.

Z_GIS has strong experience in organising conferences for many years. Over 1000 people attend the biggest scientific conference – the AGIT Symposium & GI_Forum – at the University of Salzburg in the field of Geoinformatics. The goal of the conferences is to promote translating theory, methods and techniques into a broad range of Geoinformatics application domains. Young researches are especially welcome to contribute and discuss their findings. The international GI_Forum runs concurrently with the highly regarded German language conference on Applied Geoinformatics – AGIT hosted by our local conference team for more than 30 years. The two symposia share the innovative AGIT EXPO exhibit and stimulating social events.

For further information about the GI_Week and its two concurrently running conferences please visit:

– www.agit.at (for the conference on Applied Geoinformatics in German language)

 www.gi-forum.org (for the International conference in English language)

Keynotes:

  • Heinz Fassmann, Austrian Minister for Science and Education and Geographer
  • Carl Steinitz, Haward University
  • Lawrie Jordan, ESRI
  • Huodong Guo, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Martin Visbeck, Geomar Kiel
  • Martin Raubal, ETH Zürich
  • Yana Gevorgyan, GEO director (from July, 01)

Data Driven Intelligence Forum

How can we combine data economy and sustainability?

As part of ISDE12, the Data Intelligence Offensive is hosting a forum for exchange and debate on the issues of the emerging data economy. There are already many technically feasible solutions, but the challenge for politics and business will be to implement them for the benefit of society, the environment, and nature – as formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals – and in accordance with the strictest ethical and legal standards.

The topics of the forum include presentations of the Austrian data strategy, current projects on the intelligent use of data in geoinformatics, lightning presentations of solutions offered by start-ups, discussions on the development of GIS data spaces, and various exchange formats with international experts and researchers. The RSA FG is also represented and will give some presentations. The Research Studio iSPACE is a key partner.

In keeping with the spirit of ISDE12, the DIO Forum is designed to build bridges between politics, science and society.

Speakers

  • Michael Wiesmüller – BMK
  • Günther Tschabuschnig – President of the DIO
  • Thomas Prinz – RSA FG iSPACE
  • Markus Biberacher – RSA FG iSpace
  • Martin Loidl – Z_GIS, Department of Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg
  • Gerald Spreitzhofer – CEO of MetGIS
  • E. Geyer Scholz – Founder of Smart City Consulting
  • Fred Seyr – Spot on Statistics
  • Jan Kinne – Istari
  • Peter Penzenstadler & Felix Haberl – Vloor
  • Lucas Kruitwagen – OXEO

Youth Forum

A special track of the ISDE12 is going to be the Youth Forum, which aims to serves as a platform bringing together initiatives and efforts from around the world and unconstrained by disciplinary or other boundaries. We want to involve young people and their ideas to the conference – not only at the conference but they will also connect throughout spring 2021. They will create added value and synergies by learning from and with each other. Watch out for online round tables scheduled on a range of topics.

One particular idea for Youth Forum is Covid-19-Impressions:

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has a fundamental impact on our lives – and this worldwide! All areas of life – be it contact with friends and family, school, vocational training, study and work, leisure time, sport, travel, etc. – have changed massively as a result of the pandemic and thus also led to new good and bad experiences. Many of these are obvious, but many more remain hidden. We want collect all these hidden, unknown experiences from all over the world and make them visible with our Covid-19-Impressions project (https://t1p.de/Covid19Impressions)

Digital Twins – Forum for a Sustainable Planet

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is designed as a universal development agenda for all countries. SD Goals address economic, social, and environmental aspects of balancing the use of natural resources for socio-economic development with conserving ecosystem services critical to the wellbeing and livelihoods of everyone. Digital Earth plays a key role in providing insights into scientific foundations of informed decisions and evidence-based policy advice.

The Digital Twins Forum for a Sustainable Planet creates a space to understand the contributions of Digital Earth to SDGs, connecting scientists with policymakers. Keynote speakers from government and academia present the role of Digital Earth developments informing SDG policies. Brief flash talks from researchers sharing their Digital Earth insights and technologies will broaden the scope of different perspectives.  Based on these stimuli, a round table facilitates a dialogue with the audience.

The program of the forum includes keynotes and talks by:

  • Prof. Graciela Metternicht
  • Dr. Zhongchang Sun
  • Marc Paganini
  • Dr. Argie Kavvada & Dr. Adytia Agraval
  • Prof. Maria Brovelli

YOU as a student, researcher, project manager, consultant, or government official are working towards SDGs – this is the right forum for you! Do not miss the opportunities to connect with our keynote speakers to exchange knowledge, collect ideas, identify challenges, explore opportunities and initiate collaborations towards Digital Earth contributions to SDGs. Join this forum!

We are open to accepting additional suggestions of flash talks: 5-minute oral challenges as well as your research outcomes in support of SDGs. Please send your proposal and slides to emails: lixiachu613@gmail.comgregory.giuliani@unepgrid.chfukui@isc.chubu.ac.jp.

Destination Earth Forum

On Thursday, July 08 we want to highlight recent efforts and achievements on the way from “Digital Earth vision to Digital Twins of the Earth”. Our special track – the Destination Earth Forum – is co-organized with ESA and will promote the European approach of instantiating the Digital Earth concept.

The forum starts providing a high-level vision from invited speakers from all over the world and will then focus on Destination Earth and the European perspective.

Special forum in ISDE12 – GeoHumanitarian Action

This special forum is co-organized by the Christian-Doppler laboratory GEOHUM. GeoHum-Christian Doppler Laboratory of the University of Salzburg is in cooperation with Doctors without Borders and other humanitarian organizations.

The GeoHumanitarian Action Forum is a special forum in this year’s ISDE and will be held on Thursday, July 8th, 2021. The day’s programme brings together experts from research institutions, service providers, and humanitarian actors, to exchange about the role of geospatial technologies and Earth observation in humanitarian operations. With a mix of presentations, panel discussions, and keynotes, the forum’s interactive format will give both newcomers and experts plenty of opportunity for networking and sharing ideas.

Geospatial technologies at the interface of satellite Earth observation ( EO ) and geoinformatics ( GI ) are now widely used to support humanitarian operations. The uptake and further development of dedicated information services happen at unprecedented speed, with applications ranging from mission planning and operations in crisis intervention to population estimation for food distribution or vaccination campaigns. The global pandemic experience has even further pushed the need for objective and up-to-date information on impact on mortality rates and mitigation measures.

If you are interested in this event, please find all information here: https://geohum.zgis.at/events/ and the full program of the GeoHum-Forum here.

Call for Sponsors

Z_GIS see sponsors of the ISDE and the joint exhibition as our partners! We offer a variety of different, pre-defined sponsorship packages, from Bronze to Platinum level, which includes many benefits, as well as special sponsorships. Should you look for a more individualized sponsorship option, we’ll be happy to answer your questions via mail: info_isde12@sbg.ac.at or nianhua.liu@stud.sbg.ac.at

This event is designed to bridge politics, science, and society. You will meet representatives from federal and state governments, the EU Commission, UN organizations, and international space agencies.

We invite you to present your company at ISDE12 and to actively shape the program in the form of:

  • pitch at the Youth Forum (“empower young talents”)
  • give an “innovation keynote”
  • become a sponsor (bronze to platinum packages available)

Please find details at www.digitalearth2021.org or https://digitalearth2021.org/call-forsponsors/

Based on an elaborated Covid-19 hygiene concept, we are planning a hybrid event that can be attended on-site and online. More than 1,350 people have already expressed their interest in participating. In case it is not possible to allow on-site planning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a plan B for a purely online event.
If you are interested in positioning your company and/or your solutions to the SDGs and the topic of Digital Earth / Digital Twins, we look forward to your feedback!