Our charted landscape has never stopped expanding and over centuries of mapping our world’s surface and cities, we have continually found ways to harness innovative technologies to increase our cartographic scope. That has taken us in two directions. The first being upward, using satellite technology to see the previously unseeable. The second being inside, as we’ve begun the undertaking of mapping our indoor world. (I’ll ignore the world’s oceans where some estimates suggest more then 80% remain unmapped). The impacts of these mapping efforts will undoubtedly be felt in the coming years.
As access to satellite imagery and indoor mapping becomes more pervasive, the convergence of these two data sources will mean that organizations will increasingly rely on location data to make decisions. With the ability to understand how people interact with their environments – built and otherwise – at both a macro and micro level, every aspect of our urban lives will be adjusted. This will influence everything from real estate pricing to insurance rates on a global scale and in our daily interactions.
We are already starting see the impact of this indoor and outdoor intelligence convergence. Many mines are leveraging both GPS technology (for a global view of the mine site) and IPS technology (for a localized view of a mine shaft or tunnel) to make complex underground environments safer and more navigable. Location awareness in these situations is saving lives. As sub-surface imaging capabilities of satellites increase in the coming decade and coalesces with dynamic layer-based maps and sensor technology, one of the world’s most dangerous occupations will become safer and more reliable, mitigating risk while simultaneously securing global supply chains.
With greater adoption rates, there will also come increased market consolidation through mergers and acquisitions across the GIS space. Indoor and outdoor intelligence solutions providers partner and merge to offer comprehensive solutions. Innovative start-ups will be acquired by bigger companies with global reach that can serve the needs of multinational corporations, carrying the benefits of location data to every inch of the globe.
The implications of this market and technology expansion are immense. The ability to understand the impact of natural disasters, pandemics or human intervention and interaction with their natural and built environment will mean that organizations at every level will have access to immense data to guide their decisions. Those decisions could potentially save lives and reduce friction from our daily lives, at scale. The question is: How do we, as a society, harness this wealth of information and do good with indoor data?