Building Greener Smarter Communities - Geovate 2018

The theme for this year's Geovation challenge was 'Building Greener Smarter Communities' and it was sponsored by Innovate UK and Northumbria Water Group to the tune of £185k. This one day conference took place on 16 February at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London. It marked the third day of the Geovation camp, during which the ten best ideas get developed into ventures that could attract funding. The format for the day was a morning of talks and an afternoon during which the ten finalists presented their pitches to a panel of judges, culminating in the award of... (read more)
2017-07-10 03:13:18

Creative Traps in Maps

Maps undoubtedly play an important role in society. From use in daily life to professional applications, maps help us navigate, plan activities and gain insight into our surrounding environment. Although we know that all maps have a certain accuracy, we rarely question the existence of streets and places we find on a map. Throughout time, however, various cartographers have used our good faith in maps to protect their work from being stolen. Their creative ways to trap copyright violators has led to a variety of map ‘mistakes’, some of which have survived for years before being discovered. This article presents... (read more)
2017-06-02 02:44:50

The State of Geospatial - Revealed as Uber Bags deCarta

Just how old do you have to be to remain a startup? Adena Schutzberg reveals the “secret sauce” in the deal and asks, is anyone buying geographic data companies? It’s been several months since a “big” acquisition in the geospatial industry. Uber, the well-known mobile app-based transportation company, acquired deCarta, a small independent mapping and spatial analysis software company. The acquisition reveals several truisms about the state of our industry. I want to highlight them here because we as insiders sometimes cannot see the business forest due to the technology trees. All Companies are Tech Companies A few years ago... (read more)
2016-12-22 03:54:18

Solving the Productivity Puzzle and GeoCom 2018

As the UK struggles to keep up with our neighbours in improving our productivity, our government is increasingly turning its eye to the role of data. Nothing can emphasise this further than the discussion paper “The Economic Value of Data” published by HM Treasury in July*. This follows a number of announcements in recent months – from the opening up of OS MasterMap (which readers may have spotted and indeed was the topic of a well-received AGI webinar) to investments in AI. But taking a step back – what is the role of geospatial data in making the UK more... (read more)
2018-08-20 04:02:41

Why Geospatial Needs to Listen to GDPR

When it comes to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, a suitable analogy to think about is a courtroom-based TV show. Every few episodes, the judge will ‘throw out’ a case because a lawyer did not collect evidence using legal means. The key thing to remember for geospatialists who watch these types of shows is that under GDPR, the incorrect collection and use of information will soon be considered as a punishable offense in itself. The GDPR regulation, which comes into force from May 2018, is an effort to uphold privacy and anonymity rights of all European Union citizens... (read more)
2018-01-08 12:54:10

Smart Speakers, Voice Assistants and Location

Do you speak to a voice assistant? Perhaps you ask Google Assistant via Google Home to check the local weather or have Alexa via an Amazon Echo tell you a “knock knock” joke. You might request more complex tasks like finding a local restaurant with open tables for tonight. For now, those are about the extent of current assistants’ spatial capabilities. I dug into the Amazon Echo’s “skills,” the name for the voice-activated apps it runs. The most utilitarian skills related to maps and location offer answers to questions like “How long will a known commuting route take today?” or... (read more)
2017-08-07 11:38:02

The Future of Addressing

An interesting startup has attracted new funding but will success need a cultural change?, asks Adena Schutzberg. Could Google help? As I write in November, there’s word that What3Words (W3W), the UK startup, has received new funding led by Intel Capital. That brings the company’s funding since its 2013 founding to $5m. W3W offers a solution for the confused state of world addresses by assigning three-word codes to 3 × 3 metre grid squares across the globe. I’m writing this at “clash.surely.boss.” How it Works There’s nothing really magical about how W3W works. To find your three-word location you identify... (read more)
2016-12-23 10:53:59

The Age of Geospatial Data Ethics

Today, we are seeing a sudden awakening around the topic of data ethics, writes Abigail Page. Although ethics have always existed, the recent scandals around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have changed the tone of the discussion – especially as we learn that our personal data is actually a monetizable resource. These recent developments, which have received the full glare of the media spotlight, should be considered as a ringing alarm clock that is impossible to stop. On the positive side, these scandals have forced citizens to ask some important questions: what happens to my data, how much do I want... (read more)
2018-04-12 10:42:35

Cleaning up the Streets Using Geographical Data

Caught in the Gully!
KaarbonTech won the 2014 Association of Geographic Information (AGI) award for Best Use of Geospatial for Business Benefit with their Gulley SMART highways asset management software package. Their managing director, Mark Entwistle, explains how proactive drain cleaning can improve highways departments’ performance while saving time and money. Managing drainage and water flow into roadside gullies may seem one of the more traditional and perhaps low tech roles carried out by local government. In fact, the reverse is true: twenty-first-century highways asset management is high tech, digital and mobile. The award recognised the results achieved by a project KaarbonTech undertook with... (read more)
2016-12-23 10:42:53

Addressing Solution, Meet your Problem

I love to listen to tech podcasts that cover new gadgets or services. I’m not a big gadget person, but I love to think through the problem that a new product or service solves. I heard about some new offerings announced at CES, the big consumer tech show held each January in Las Vegas, NV. Razer announced Project Linda, a hardware dock for its phone. When plugged into the dock, which is basically a brainless laptop, the phone serves as both brain and touchpad. What problem does that solve? One that very few people have. I’d describe Project Linda as... (read more)
2018-01-23 11:28:31
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