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Geospatial Intelligence: More than just a map
Blog #2

Geospatial Intelligence: More than just a map

Read time 10 mins
15 May 2020
Mohammed Al-Marzooqi
By Mohammed Al-Marzooqi
Geospatial Intelligence: More than just a map 15 May 2020
Most, if not all, of the areas in which most governments and institutions are competing today revolve around the massive growth in big data: how to harness it, how to store it, and how to use it to support meaningful and effective decision-making.

In line with this increasing pace of harnessing big data in all areas, the greatest developments in this era are centered on the high capacity of adopting modern technology to manage it, as official surveys show that 49.2% of executives started analyzing big data in various fields and counted on the real value of such data in their implemented strategies. Therefore, decision-making no longer relies solely on prediction, but on planning for the future, which has become more accurate and detailed. Although this has urged many governments and institutions to collect and analyze big data to understand more statistical patterns, most of the current processes in the world are still limited to collecting and sharing this data as it is.

What is the key missing element in decision-making?

Nowadays, most governments and institutions are aware of the true value of big data and the requirements of advanced analysis to determine implementable decisions and processes. So what is missing? It is in extracting the value of geographic data and the intelligence that geospatial analytics can provide to decision makers as well as Geospatial Information System (GIS) specialists.

Whereas, in light of the high rates of possession of smartphones and the spread of infrastructure for sites such as, GPS and mobile phone towers, in addition to the Internet of Things, about 80% of the data stored today contains the geolocation component and it is completely untapped.

Whereas, in light of the rise in the possession of smartphones and the widespread of infrastructure for sites such as: GPS and cell phone towers and the Internet of Things (IoT), about 80% of the data stored today has a geolocation component and it is not completely untapped.

That means that all of our data contains geographic information, so geolocation data will actually remain a growing component of all data in different areas. We all have access to this data and it is already part of our daily operations. If you are wondering how? Just think of the number of apps on your phone that use a map that allow you to track things and you will get the answer!

So what is geospatial intelligence?

Geospatial intelligence is described by the ability of governments and institutions to use geographic data principles to plan and solve problems, as the definition of spatial intelligence is not limited to site location technology, but this data is enriched to obtain innovative future insights in important and different areas, through geospatial processing and analysis, which contribute to decision-making.

Geospatial intelligence specially represents the ability to organize and understand complex patterns of phenomena and events using the geographic relationships inherent in all information. When applied in the context of work, the results are meaningful and achievable and can provide a sustainable competitive advantage. Building geospatial intelligence successfully requires knowledge of the specific business area and the main frameworks for analysis with a constant focus on the outputs because geographic location is the only component that links the physical world to our digital data.

There is also a huge opportunity to use this data to make better and more effective decisions in all areas. This is the real power of geographic located data: it is a way to detect relationships between large sets of data that may not have been clear or easy to ascertain, and through site data analytics, we come up with innovative ideas to understand these relationships, which in turn lead to understand these relationships, which in turn lead to avoiding existing problems and plan for a smarter future.​ ​


​Geospatial intelligence using geographic information systems

Geospatial intelligence is more than just a map with spots; it is an integrated analytical system…

GIS specializes in storing and processing geospatial data, which consists of points, lines and polygons mapped as coordinates. Each spatial feature can be analyzed with different properties and rules governing its behavior. It also has descriptive tables explaining data details and has complex computational spatial tools using the geographic location to determine the relationships between spatial patterns.​

Therefore, without GIS, organizations and governments cannot keep pace with developments in smart cities' field and foreseeing the future, including digital twinning.

Whereas, until recently, most geospatial analyzes were performed by GIS specialists and workers in governments and institutions where they collected and stored various data in geospatially possible databases to create advanced analytical models. Yet, currently, geospatial insights are delivered to all users via applications that support the publication of data on the cyberspace, allowing users to access interactive maps through web browsers.

Therefore, the volume of data increased in quality due to its mixing with basic data, which adds value to operations and decisions. Depending on the use case and the required service level agreements, and given the adoption of recent research, interviews with experts, and analytical models that are used in the real world, the geospatial intelligence reveals its power to solve today's problems and anticipate the reality of the future.

How does geospatial intelligence change the way we solve problems in the future?​

Geospatial intelligence uses geographic data to enable decision makers to analyze current phenomena and explore the future. There are applications that virtualize geospatial intelligence capabilities in an innovative way, such as applications to choose the most suitable sites for facilities and community service center, in addition to scenarios to resolve the congested real traffic, and site-based insights are used in many ways through which they can devise a set of solutions that are safer and more effective.

Geospatial intelligence also helps to plan and respond to crises and emergencies by providing plans to evacuate the population and reduce damage to cities and citizens. The flexibility of geospatial intelligence helps to coordinate operations between many smart organizations by creating, managing and sharing information, making them smarter, more productive and more efficient.

Why now is the time to consider geospatial intelligence and GIS applications?

It is because of the increasing use of geospatial intelligence by governments and institutions. To obtain a competitive advantage to create new opportunities, 97% of governments and institutions believe that geospatial intelligence is critical to their success, and most say they plan to invest in geospatial intelligence technologies and explore the potential of integrating geospatial information with artificial intelligence to visualize all uses that will reveal new insights and will provide an innovative map of the future.

Where is the gap in the use of geospatial intelligence in the United Arab Emirates?

Nearly all governments, large and medium enterprises collect and store geographical data. However, a large percentage of them considers the use of geospatial intelligence an advantage in its infancy, which makes its implementation difficult for it and achieving its maturity is a great challenge for them. In addition, the specialized nature of GIS usually makes it difficult for others to benefit from it and this leads to the loss of geographic data's value and makes access to it difficult. That is why it is important to overcome the challenge (specialized nature) of finding experts in the field of GIS by highlighting and marketing this specialization so that we can obtain the required expertise.

Moreover, it is necessary to recognize that owning geographic data will not be sufficient - it will need to be harnessed by the right programs, linked to the right data and made available to the right people to enable decision-makers to choose the correct visions.​

  1. Advanced Location Analytics Using Demographic Data from Esri and SAS® Visual AnalyticsRead Further

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