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R.N.I No - UPENG/2010/34153 Registration no: UP/GBD-136/2011-13 YOUR GEOSPATIAL INDUSTRY MAGAZINE MARCH 2012 VOL 02 ISSUE 08 ISSN 2277 - 3134

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GLOBAL BASEMAP With Global Basemap, imagery consumption is easy. Global Basemap provides the most accurate and up-to-date imagery available and ensures seamless coverage of every square kilometer of the Earth’s landmass. DigitalGlobe is responsible for all processing, updating, and hosting, enabling users to focus on understanding and analyzing their area of interest.






Advisory Board


Abbas Rajabifard President, GSDI Association

Aida Opoku Mensah Director - ICT Division UN Economic Commission for Africa Bryn Fosburgh Vice President Trimble Derek Clarke Chief Director-Survey and Mapping & National Geospatial Information Department of Rural Development & Land Reform, South Africa

Jack Dangermond President, Esri

ARTICLES Josef Strobl Director, Centre for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg, Austria


Smart energy 'Power' to people Deepali Roy

Juergen Dold President, Hexagon Geosystems

36 Kamal K Singh Chairman and CEO Rolta Group

Mark Reichardt President and CEO Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.

Renewable energy Time to think alternative! Anand Kashyap


Environment info exchange Sustainability on the agenda Vaibhav Arora

Matthew M O'Connell President and CEO GeoEye


Preetha Pulusani Chairman and CEO DeepTarget Inc. Shailesh Nayak Secretary Ministry of Earth Sciences Government of India


India Geospatial Forum Vanessa Lawrence CB Director General and CEO, Ordnance Survey, UK

CHAIRMAN M P Narayanan PUBLISHER Sanjay Kumar PUBLICATIONS TEAM Managing Editor Prof. Arup Dasgupta Editor - Europe Prof. Ian Dowman Editor - Latin America (Honorary) Tania Maria Sausen Sr. Associate Editor (Honorary) Dr. Hrishikesh Samant Executive Editor Bhanu Rekha Product Manager Shivani Lal Assistant Editors Deepali Roy, Aditi Bhan, Vaibhav Arora Sub-Editor Anand Kashyap DESIGN TEAM Sr. Creative Designer Deepak Kumar Graphic Designer Manoj Kumar Singh CIRCULATION TEAM Circulation Manager Vijay Kumar Singh

Geospatial World I March 2012

07 Editorial

08 News

49 Events

54 Picture this

D ISCLAIMER Geospatial World does not necessarily subscribe to the views expressed in the publication. All views expressed in this issue are those of the contributors. Geospatial World is not responsible for any loss to anyone due to the information provided.



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SMEs have more open field to experiment he energy sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. Development needs energy but conventional energy sources are not renewable and extremely destructive of the environment. Non-conventional sources which are environment friendly are unfortunately not as efficient as conventional non-renewable resources. This paradox poses a huge problem for developing countries who would like to use the cheapest forms of energy for their needs. This paradox also presents a great opportunity for geospatial technology and applications.


Quite apart from the applications in resource exploration, mine design and management, environmental planning and disaster management, there are tremendous opportunities in managing power generation and distribution, in integrating conventional and non-conventional power generation and in optimising distribution networks. The term 'smart grid' encompasses all these areas. The element of geospatial planning is a very important part of the smart grid. As cities grow, industries expand and traditional activities like agriculture get modernised, the demand of power increases. Smart grid provides a way of planning optimum distribution, integrating different sources, reducing losses and balancing loads. These activities have a big geospatial component that needs to be integrated into the existing CRM, ERP and DMS of power management systems. This is also a golden opportunity for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are the foot soldiers of the geospatial world. The big corporations look for big clients and mega projects. It is the SMEs that meet the needs of the local bodies and other small enterprises who would find the big corporations too expensive and also perhaps not too small user friendly. The SMEs can provide innovative solutions and bridge the gap. Large corporations may find it easier to offload such work to the SMEs.

Prof. Arup Dasgupta Managing Editor

However, SMEs need to plan ahead. They may start at the root of the value chain but today's data conversion work may peter out. Conversion technologies may change. End users may demand more complex solutions and decision support systems in place of simple query tools. While corporations get locked up with their own proprietary technologies, SMEs have a more open field and can experiment with emerging technologies. The open source solutions are an indicator of these trends.

A disturbing trend is the insistence that SMEs show sizeable past business and certification at ISO and CMMi levels which are expensive to say the least. None of these are necessarily guarantees of future performance. In fact these limits may shut out innovators. Let us not forget the origins of hugely successful innovators like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates or industrialists like Dhirubhai Ambani.

Geospatial World I March 2012


NEWS SANSA releases mosaic imagery dataset


‘Weather Service’ faces criticism Fourteen constituents of Maritime Safety Organisation and the Weather and Disaster Observation Service to the FW De Klerk Foundation opposed the SA Weather Service Amendment Bill. If approved, the bill will impose severe penalties (fine up to 5 million SA rand or imprisonment for five years) on people found guilty of issuing a warning or an alert regarding

'severe' weather and air pollution, unless that information was specifically sanctioned by the country's weather service. Jean Pierre Arabonis, an oceanographer and meteorologist stated, "The shipping industry needs four to five days warning. On the contrary, the SA Weather Service puts out warning quite late so the law is unfair."

Rural development dept develops GIS The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, South Africa,


South African National Space Agency (SANSA) released a dataset of mosaic imagery for the whole of South Africa. The agency used data from the Spot 5 earth observation satellite. Known as the Spot 5 Mosaic 2011, the dataset contains imagery acquired between January 24 and December 20, 2011. "The mosaic can be used for housing and urban planning, agriculture, Mosaic Imagery of Africa water and dam monitoring, environmental monitoring, forestry monitoring and so on," stated SANSA earth observation production manager Natalie Diemer. The images are composed of 476 multispectral (colour) images with a resolution of 10 m and 476 panchromatic (black and white) images with a resolution of 2.5 m.

developed a state-of-the-art GIS called SPISYS. Fanie Minnie, one of the developers of SPISYS, considers it an alternative to Google Earth. The system has been developed to integrate diverse data into an instantaneous solutions platform and to streamline a process that ordinarily takes months. Starting in April 2011, with a budget of 6 million SA rand, the two-year project is currently focused on photographing the Free State on half-metre resolution. This cloud-based system will integrate data from as many as 15 sector departments of the country and will also be accessible on cellphones.


NASA to help manage water resources NASA will help better manage the country's water resources, using

remote sensing technology, a Tunisian press agency reported. For the same, a project funded by the regional centre for remote sensing of water resources in North African states (CRTEAN) has been commissioned in Tunis. The project, which will run from 2012 through 2015, will focus on the Gafsa

region in southern Tunisia. According to recent studies, Tunisia faces a grave threat of water shortage in the next two decades. It is estimated that by 2025, consumption of renewable water resources will reach less than 500 cubic metres per inhabitant, per year.

Geospatial World I March 2012


ASI seeks SoI's assistance The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) approached Survey of India (SoI), for his expertise for mapping and surveying the 3,600 archaeological sites. The discussion is reportedly in an advanced stage. According to ASI Director Dr Gautam Sengupta, the main reason for seeking SoI's help is to identify the extent of

encroachments on the sites as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010. Once the MoU with SoI is signed, it is likely to take three years for the survey to be completed.

NDMA sets guidelines for disaster mgmt The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) prepared the National Disaster Management Guidelines for Information and Communication System. Speaking at the occasion, M Shashidhar Reddy, Vice Chairman, NDMA, stressed that the

Geospatial World I March 2012

holistic approach for disaster management calls for a foolproof communication system to ensure seamless flow of value-added information products on a GIS platform. He informed that to achieve this, it is being contemplated to establish the National Disaster Management Information System at the central level. The total cost of the project is estimated to be INR 943 crore.

Solar atlas to be developed Recently, the Centre for Wind Energy Technology measured radiation at 51 locations in India with the aim to create a solar atlas of the country. The atlas will identify hotspots where the sun's radiation has optimum intensity for power generation. For now, radiation data for most locations in India are largely provided by satellites from NASA and others. The recent measurement threw up some surprises, including the fact that pollution-free Ladakh is more suitable for a photo-

voltaic project than even Rajasthan. The agency is currently in the process of developing an algorithm to validate the data.


Farmers to get microclimate info Israeli Scientists developed a way of using satellite images to help farmers detect small-scale changes in climate and improve their harvests. Uri Dayan, a climatologist from Hebrew University; and Itamar Lensky, Head of the remote sensing laboratory at Bar Ilan University; explained that this new method uses real-time thermal images made available from NASA and then analyses the surface temperature of each plot at a fine scale. "Once we understand how nature works, we pack it into an algorithm, and the results of this algorithm we can give to the farmers," Lensky, said.

Govt to track mobile users' whereabouts The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) made changes to the licence terms of telecom operators and asked them to provide real-time details of cellphone users' location in latitude and longitude. Initially, the operators will have to provide such information for some specific numbers, but within three years they will have to track the location of all users. By 2014, at least 75 percent of the calls in urban areas and 50 percent in suburban and rural areas would have to be accurately tracked when made 100 metres from the nearest cell tower. The new terms also include imposing a fine of INR 50 crore along with criminal proceedings on operators for breach of security.



Satnav market to touch USD 35 bn The annual output value of China's satellite navigation industry will reach more than 225 billion yuan (USD 35.64 billion) in 2015, according to a research report by the country's National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation. The

report highlighted that more than 5,000 Chinese firms were now involved in the application and services of satellite navigation and the industry generated more than 50 billion yuan of output value in 2010. The country aims to increase the total number of satellite navigation terminals used by the public across the country to 340 million by 2015.

'79 pc wetlands poorly protected' About 79 percent wetlands in China are poorly protected and their total coverage is shrinking, according to a survey by the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. According to the survey, the country's natural wetland reserves have decreased by more than 8,000 square km over the past three decades. Poorly-protected wetland areas are mainly located in


west and southwest China. Only 15 percent of the wetlands found along the Songhuajiang River in Northeast China are well protected. The country had 614 natural wetland reserves as of 2011, including 91 at the state level.


PM approves space policy Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani approved the Pakistan Space Policy. The policy is likely to be presented in the National Assembly for approval soon, chairman of Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, Major General Ahmed Bilal announced. Bilal agreed that so far SUPARCO did very little work in space research. He explained that emphasis in the policy has been placed on educating students about its benefit for the nation. According to

the policy, space education should be made compulsory in schools and colleges.


Power lines taken off topo maps Geographical Survey Institute requested 10 major power companies to provide the locations of their power lines and towers for the electronic map project. However, all the firms refused citing terror and safety risks. The Association of Japanese Geographers, meanwhile, demanded that the lines and towers be included, pointing out that mountain climbers use them to help confirm their locations. Hiroshi Tashiro, a Japan Cartographers Association trustee said, "There are already far more detailed aerial photographs available on the Internet, so the power company's position is very anachronistic."

Chang'e-2 maps moon in high-resolution China published a full coverage map of the moon, as well as several high-resolution images of the celestial body, captured by the country's second moon orbiter, the Chang'e-2. Several countries have obtained lunar images with higher resolution, but have not published images with a resolution of seven meters or greater, as China has done, claimed Tong Qingxi, an academic from the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications. The images were photographed by a charge-coupled device (CCD) stereo camera on the Chang'e-2 from heights of 100 km and 15 km over the lunar surface between October 2010 and May 2011. The scientists also spotted traces of the previous Apollo mission in the images.

Geospatial World I March 2012



3D map of Bangkok available online

ISA launches EO satellite

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's (BMA) City Planning Department drew up a 3D city planning map. The 3D city map of traffic routes and infrastructure systems is available for the public at Thin Hongthong, chief of the department's Geographic Information Division, informed that the digital map is set at a ratio of 1:500 and is based on the latest 2006 Greater Bangkok city plan. It shows the details of each city zone and what types of properties can be built there. There are 990 3D visualised structures out of 1.4 million actual buildings in the city to overlay on the map.

Iranian Space Agency (ISA) launched earth-observation satellite, 'Navid-e Elm-o Sana'at' (Promise of Science and Industry), marking the country's first successful mission. It weighs about 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and was built by students at the Sharif University of Technology. The satellite is shaped like a cube that is nearly 20 inches (50 centimetres) wide. It is circling the earth in an elliptical orbit and passes over Iran six times a day. The satellite is controlled via five ground stations, one each in the cities of Karaj, Tabriz, Qeshm, Bushehr and Mashhad and will be used by researchers to study earth's weather systems and manage responses to natural disasters.

beTech owns the licence for the digital map data, which it has collected in Thailand continuously for 20 years.

support from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).


Digital topo map to be prepared Nokia accused of IPR breach Globetech Ltd, a subsidiary of IT conglomerate CDG Group, filed a lawsuit against Nokia at the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court. The company claimed that Nokia's Ovi Maps violated intellectual property right (IPR) by using its digital map data without permission. Globetech General Manager Wichai Saenghirunwattana said the company found that its digital map data appeared in Nokia's Ovi Maps. Glo-

Geospatial World I March 2012

Survey of Bangladesh (SOB) will complete a detailed digital topographic map of the country by 2016, according to the Director of SOB, Colonel Mahmudun Nabi. The map will be produced at a scale of 1:25,000. The conventional one is at a scale of 1:50,000 composed by the British government. Besides, separate 1:5,000 scale digital topographic maps will be drawn for five divisional cities of Barisal, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet. The SOB started the BDT 1.81 billion (BDT: Bangladeshi Taka) project at the end of 2007 with technical and financial

3D map to help predict floods PUB, Singapore's national water agency could be using a better floodprediction computer model in the near future. The terrain for the map will be captured in 3D through LiDAR technology and GPS-fitted vehicles. According to experts, although this technique produces the map faster and cheaper than manual land surveys, but it suffers in urban areas, where tall buildings may interfere with the GPS signals. The pulses may also bounce off cars and pedestrians, distorting the land-height information. The map commissioned by the PUB will depict land height in that area to within 10cm accuracy.



Multicore tech to aid precision landing Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology (FIRST) engi-

The system incorporates P4080 Multicore Processor, manufactured by Freescale. It allows a spacecraft to be piloted and positioned with pinpoint accuracy. The MUSE project is funded by the Space Flight Agency of the German Aerospace Center DLR, with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.


discovery, dissemination and exploitation capability that could address the deployable requirements of the Intelligence Collection Group (ICG), including the provision of mobile and manoeuvrable working environments at the tactical level. A spokesperson for the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) IMaGE Delivery Team said, "Future Deployable GEOINT (FDG) is a vital project that will provide the MOD with improved and enhanced tactical GEOINT capabilities."

Lockheed Martin bags Galileo to get eight defence contract more satellites

neered a system based on multicore technologies, as part of MUSE project (Multicore Architecture for Sensorbased Position Tracking in Space).

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded Lockheed Martin UK Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) and its industry team, Team SOCRATES, a contract to deliver the Future Deployable Geospatial Intelligence (FDG) Project. FDG aims to deliver a data centric, geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) management,


EU Parliament supports GMES The European Union (EU) Parliament voted on the future of the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) in a resolution that strongly supports the programme being funded within the multi-year financial framework (MFF). The Parliament observed that the solution proposed by the European Commission (EC) in its 'A budget for Europe 2020' to finance GMES outside of the MFF will be hugely detrimental to its future development and may cause the programme to lose its European dimension and contradict the principles of transparency. The Parliament called on the EC to table a legislative proposal for the long-term governance, funding and operation of the GMES, financed under the MFF.


European Commission (EC) Vice President Antonio Tajani announced that the consortium led by OHB System AG and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) will build a further eight satellites for the European Union's (EU) Galileo satellite navigation programme under the supervision of the European Space Agency (ESA). The new contract will see SSTL continuing its role as payload prime, assembling, integrating and testing the navigation payloads in the UK, whilst OHB System, as the prime contractor, builds the eight satellite platforms and executes the final integration of all the satellites in Germany. The SSTL-OHB partnership is already building fourteen Galileo satellites.

Space industry gets a boost With the aim to promote satellite data-based commercial products, the UK Space Agency, the Technology Strategy Board and the South East England Development Agency jointly

Geospatial World I March 2012


NLS to open access to topo data On May 1, 2012, the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) will open its topographic datasets for the public and companies to be used free of charge, announced Jarmo Ratia, Director General, Central administration of the NLS. He added that the NLS aims to implement the objectives set in the programme of Prime Minister Katainen's government for making public databanks available to all interested parties. One can check the complete list of the datasets to be opened at

granted GBP 2.5 million fund. Approximately 22 companies will be direct beneficiaries of this fund. This financial aid will support around twenty-eight fast-track research and development projects. These projects will cover a broad range of growth opportunities, ranging from novel propulsion for cubesats; through technology to exploit the Galileo (a navigation satellite system); to techniques for crop monitoring from space.


Prague to host Galileo headquarters The Czech government signed a deal for Prague to host the headquarters of European Union's (EU) global navigation satellite system (GNSS), Galileo. With Galileo, the EU wants to achieve independence in satellite navigation from the GPS. They claimed that Galileo is more

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precise and more reliable than the GPS, while fully controlled by civil authorities. They foresee applications ranging from precision seeding on farmland to pinpoint positioning for search-and-rescue missions. The system, a network of 30 satellites, is expected to become operational by 2014.

Russian space agency may get almost USD 12 billion for the project. The expenditure includes approximately USD 5 billion to support the system and another USD 4.6 billion to develop it. In 2020, the country plans to have 30 navigation satellites in orbit, including six in reserve.


Real-time air quality info soon GAF AG, a company specialising in applied remote sensing and spatial information systems, developed an online platform, obsAIRve. Funded by the European Commission, the plat-


GLONASS to get USD 12 bn boost Russian space agency and economics ministry agreed on a draft development programme for the GLONASS project. Earlier, the ministry had refused to fund the project because the GLONASS team failed to submit a detailed report of the expenses they were planning. Now, after the ministry's nod, the draft has been forwarded to the government for approval. If it gets approved, the

form will provide near real-time information on pollution levels in European cities. Air-quality data from the GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme and from 6000 air monitoring stations of national environment agencies are being incorporated in the obsAIRve. The company is also working closely with the environmental authorities of several countries including Austria and the Netherlands to make this a customisable air-quality information platform.


SeqSLAM to make navigation simpler Scientist maps Coral Sea region Using satellite imagery to trace the shallow-water features and then sonar to map and trace the deeperwater features, James Cook University's Robin Beaman produced a new map of Australia's Coral Sea region. A major finding that the map details is the large number of underwater canyons in the area as well as 14 seamounts rising at least 1000 metres from the sea floor. "One seamount, the Fraser Seamount, is 4060 metres high, nearly twice the height of Mt Kosciuszko, Australia's highest mountain," Dr Beaman said.

Retail sector urged to use location tech Esri Australia urged the retail sector to exploit location-based technologies to seduce shoppers back to their stores after recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures showed that retailers suffered their worst year since 1984. "Geo-locator technology delivered through GIS can re-establish the store-front as a key advantage and critical point of difference," observed Dama Kumarasingham, a consultant at Esri Australia. She stated, "Australia has a large number of smartphone users and brick and mortar retailers can take advantage of this. Retailers need to deliver personalised marketing straight to the shoppers' hands as they move within the vicinity of their stores, using location technologies."


The world-first approach to visual navigation algorithms, SeqSLAM (Sequence Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping), can make 'navigating' a far cheaper and simpler task than GPS, claimed Dr Michael Milford from Queensland University of Technology's Science and Engineering Faculty. He said, "At the moment you need three satellites in order to get a decent GPS signal. Still, there are some places geographically, where you can't get signals. SeqSLAM uses the assumption that you are already in a specific location and tests that assumption over and over again."

DARMsys enhances recovery process

Satellites to help Fiji map forest cover

With the aim to enhance recovery process after natural disasters, Queensland Reconstruction Authority developed a real time tracking system for damage evaluation, Damage Assessment and Reconstruction Monitoring system (DARMsys). The authority claimed it to be Australia's first such system that enables gathering of early and accurate information. The system involves a GPSlinked data collection device. It allows assessors to gauge levels of damage to individual homes and buildings, and then transfer that data in 'realtime' to a central mapping point.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) embarked on a programme to build capacity in mapping land/forest cover in Fiji using very high resolution satellite images, according to SPC Regional Community Forester Jalesi Mateboto. The programme consists of three phases,

which includes "ground truthing" (on-site verification of data from satellite imagery) exercises. It is hoped that these activities will contribute to the establishment of the National Measurement, Reporting and Verification system, strengthening the country's REDD+ programme.

Geospatial World I March 2012

right of privacy," said CDT's Gregory Nojeim.

administration officials seek "less costly options" for obtaining Landsat data.


Defence dept to trim imagery spending


'Warrant compulsory for GPS tracking' The US Supreme Court ruled that police need a search warrant before tracking a suspect with a GPS device, in a case involving privacy and 21st century technology. The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution provides guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure. The court ruled that police had violated the rights of a suspected drug dealer when they placed a tracking device, on his vehicle without a warrant. Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) described the ruling as a landmark decision. "The court made it clear that it will not allow advancing technology to erode the constitutional

Govt seeks to lower Landsat costs US government agencies are working together to look for ways to reduce the cost of future Landsat missions as a result of congressional direction included in the 2012 budget. "Although Congress has provided USD 2 million to the US Geological Service (USGS), they have also requested that the administration re-examine how to proceed with future missions," said Jon Campbell, spokesman for the Interior Department's USGS. While President Barack Obama had requested USD 48 million to pave the way for development of Landsat 9 and Landsat 10, Congressional appropriators allocated USD 2 million for Landsat "development only" and suggested that

Congress passes FAA Bill The US Congress passed a bill that gives the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) USD 11 billion to upgrade air traffic controls of the nation's 35 busiest airports from radar to GPS. It also opens the US skies for military, commercial and privately-owned unmanned drone flights within four years. Drones will be allowed to fly in the same airspace as airliners, cargo planes, business jets and private aircraft. The new GPS system is the start of an overall plan for a 50-percent growth in air traffic over the next decade.

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The US defence department intends to reduce planned purchases of commercial satellite imagery in 2013 as part of a broader initiative aimed

at reducing US military expenditures by USD 259 billion over the next five years, according to a Pentagon planning document. The US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta observed, "The forthcoming request reflects numerous force structure and other changes that the administration deemed necessary in light of a changing strategic and budgetary environment." Panetta also stated that under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Pentagon must cut planned spending by USD 487 billion over the next decade.

Rapid response service soon Esri and GeoEye announced that a rapid-response satellite imagery service for crisis situations will be made available soon. In 2011, both companies had offered a joint product, GeoEye Image Pack, which enabled Esri customers to procure


high-resolution data from GeoEye's extensive imagery archive. The latest service will allow ArcGIS users to better and more quickly utilise GeoEye's map imagery and Esri software tools. Russ Johnson from Esri said, "Satellite imagery allows us to rapidly visualise impacts, analyse change and empower field teams conducting mobile operations." GeoEye's Chris Tully observed, "Geospatial technology plays a critical role in determining where resources should be deployed most effectively after a crisis."

'Alteryx truly relies on location data' Gartner, a market research firm, in its latest report, revealed that most companies use location as an adjunct to their reporting capabilities while only one, Alteryx (an analytic solutions provider), truly relies on its geospatial roots to leverage locationbased data in a more significant way. Others, however, use maps for primarily visualisation rather than analytics. On the basis of its report, Gartner prepared its 'Magic Quadrant', which is divided into areas of niche Challengers


Information Buildings Tableau ability to execute

Tibco Software (Apotfire)

Oracle MicroStrategy Microsoft iQ kTech IBM SAS SAP

LogiX ML Acturate Paronama Software Prognoz Salient Management Company Board International arcplan Targit Alteryx Pentaho Jaspersoft niche players

visionaries completeness of vision As of February 2012


DigitalGlobe reports loss for 2011 DigitalGlobe reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ending December 31, 2011. On a GAAP basis, the company reported a fourth quarter net loss of USD 27.0 million, compared with net income of USD 0.6 million for the same period last year. For the full year, the company reported a GAAP net loss of USD 28.1 million, compared with net income of USD 2.5 million for 2010. Fullyear 2011 revenue was USD 339.5 million, up 5 percent compared with 2010. Included in full-year revenue is USD 25.5 million of amortised revenue related to NextView, the predecessor to the EnhancedView contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Not included in full-year revenue is USD 93.1 million of deferrals related to the EnhancedView service level agreement.

players in the bottom left, visionaries in the bottom right, challengers in the upper left and leaders in the upper right.

LBS company on acquisition spree Groupon, a location-based service (LBS) provider, announced two major acquisitions. It acquired Hyperpublic, a geolocation technology provider; and Kima Labs, a mobile payment specialist firm. Hyperpublic was founded in 2010 and had raised USD 1.15 million in the same year. On the other hand, acquisition of Kima Labs is a sign of how the e-commerce company is getting more focused on mobile as a route to future growth. The company makes mobile barcode reading app Barcode Hero and mobile payment app TapBuy. These acquisitions represent a significant pick-up in mobile activity for Groupon under VP of mobile, Michael Shim,

who hopped over to Groupon from Yahoo a year ago.

Teradata, Oracle integrate their capabilities Teradata, an analytic data solutions company, and Oracle announced integration of their products. The integration aims to provide heightened technology capabilities to their customers that cut through data complexity, extend the scope of their business intelligence (BI) and speed delivery of new types of useful information to growing communities of business users. The new capabilities include integration of Teradata Geospatial with Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) mapping capabilities. In addition, OBIEE has been integrated with Teradata Aggregate Designer Optimization and Teradata Query Banding.

Geospatial World I March 2012


Robots to map environment Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory developed a system that allows robots to build and update a 3D map of their environment. The system is based on Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology. As the robot travels through an unexplored area, a visible-light video camera and infrared depth sensor scans the surroundings, building up a 3D model of the room and the objects within it. Subsequently, when the robot passes through the same area again, the system compares the features of the new image it has created with all the previous images until it finds a match.

New tool to map water use, drought Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists Martha Anderson and Bill Kustas developed an evapotranspiration (ET) and drought modelling system named ALEXI (Atmosphere-Land Exchange Inverse). The system aims to help forecasters monitor ET and drought conditions across the US and overseas. It uses thermal infrared imagery from satellites to calculate soil and plant temperatures that can be used to create maps of plant ET rates. ET consists of the water evaporated from soil and plant surfaces, and the water vapour that escapes through plant leaf pores as it absorbs carbon dioxide. Generally, evaporation cools surfaces, so a cooler land surface is an indicator of higher ET rates and wetter soils.

IfSAR data detects 'horizontal' quake Most earthquakes occur at nearvertical faults, but the Kohat Plateau earthquake in 1992 occurred on a horizontal fault, something that scientists have rarely seen before. Recently, scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder, used interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IfSAR), a type of satellite data, to verify the fact. This type of radar uses microwaves to map a section of the earth's surface at different times and then compares the two Rupture area of May 20, 1992 maps to accurately measure seismic deformation and movement in the area. In 1992, the city of Kohat, Pakistan, faced a magnitude-6.0 earthquake, which moved a 30-square-mile swath of land one foot and killed more than 200 people.

Geospatial World I March 2012

Chasqui II set for 2014 launch Peru will launch earth observation satellite Chasqui II, worth USD 2 million, in early 2014, according to the National Engineering University (UNI), which is in charge of manufacturing the satellite. This microsatellite, weighing between 25 - 30 kilograms, is being manufactured with technical support from Russia. Rector of the UNI, Aurelio Padilla explained that the satellite, known in Russia as "Scaf 3", will orbit 360 miles above the planet and send images not only for research but also to measure deforestation, river beds and assess natural disasters.

Geospatial centre to monitor biodiversity In a bid to ensure sustainable development, Dr Humberto Perotto-Baldivieso and Dr Andrew Gill of Cranfield University will develop a new Geospatial Centre for Biodiversity (GCB) in Bolivia. It will be a virtual centre and will provide animal information using web-GIS, aligned with countrywide conservation strategies. It aims to collect, assimilate, synthesise, distribute and disseminate spatially explicit information and scientifically robust biodiversity knowledge to students, policy-makers and the public to promote the sustainable management of Bolivia's biodiversity as natural capital.




Key to Geospatial Value Chain


GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the crucial ‘middle of the pyramid’ in geospatial ecosystem. They are vital and critical to the development and deployment of cutting edge technologies. In the backdrop of difficult economic situation and changing landscape of geospatial industry, SMEs are getting ingenious in reorienting to the new business order to survive and move up the value chain. Here is a low down on the continued relevance of SMEs in the geospatial industry.. ROLE OF SME’S IN GEOSPATIAL INDUSTRY Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role driving innovation, job creation and competition in the industry they serve. They also promote entrepreneurship, economic dynamism and creation of value chains through linkages with large firms, contributing directly to the growth of the industry. SMEs play a key role and form the crucial 'middle of the pyramid' of geospatial ecosystem, forming an interface between technology MNCs and end users (Figure 1). Several technology companies which are in the toprung today, started as small enterprises/research institutes in the 1960s and 1970s. From the beginning, these enterprises focussed on providing software and hardware tools to build applications in a variety of vertical domains. Over a period of time, these companies started working in various geographies around the world through a network of partners, distributors and re-sellers, acting as extensions of the principal companies in their respective geographies. Several or most of these are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Today, SMEs constitute those 'seeds' scattered throughout the industry providing vital and critical growth through the development and deployment of cutting edge technologies. They understand local sensitivities, administrative nuances and prevalent tax and policy regime. They often are the outsourcing partners in executing significant amount of maintenance and modernisation work on the nation's infrastructure (roads, airports, highways, railways) as well as utilities and land records on behalf of the technology companies, opines Bryn

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Fosburgh, Vice President, Trimble. Government agencies often outsource their work to SMEs rather than opting for big companies, primarily because SMEs understand their needs better. The flexibility that is on offer and the ease of handling small companies is an added advantage. For many multinational companies, SMEs provide local support, training and services. Technology companies often see SMEs as the heartbeat of relationships with mutual customers because they live and breathe customers' daily challenges. In addition, they also provide feedback to manufacturers on the local requirements of a region and market. This information enables companies to develop innovative solutions to meet customers'

Figure 1: Small and medium enterprises form the interface between technology MNCs and the user segment in the geospatial industry pyramid



Role of SME

Technology SME

Developing technology to build products for principal companies that operate on a variety of geospatial and business platforms; also create products to suit customer needs.

Solution SME

Re-engineering, adding value and customising products/solutions of principal companies to suit users' needs

Service SME

Involved in digitisation, data collection and processing, surveying

Trading SME

Distributors and resellers of products/solutions of partner/parent companies.

Table 1: Categorisation of SMEs based on their activities South East Asia


China & Japan

Middle East


Latin America

Technology SME







Solution SME







Service SME







Trading SME







Region/ Country


Table 2: SME matrix in various regions (in %)

requirements and transform the way they work by improving productivity and reducing rework. Another feature specific to geospatial industry worldwide is the loyalty and commitment SMEs bring, both to the end users and to the principal companies. Though many principal companies expanded geographically in emerging economies and now have hundreds of employees in some markets, their personnel continue to support SMEs in the region. These companies believe in a collaborative sales model and SMEs are part of that sales, service and support process. SME categorisation SMEs play a variety of roles in the geospatial ecosystem. However, for the purpose of this article, SMEs are categorised into four broad segments (Table 1). The article limits itself to analysing the dynamics of SMEs in emerging regions/economies including China, India, Middle


East, Latin America, Africa and South East Asia. Table 2 gives the region wise distribution of various SMEs based on the following categorisation. Technology SME: These SMEs develop technology to build products for principal companies and operate on a variety of geospatial and business platforms. They also plough their own furrow in technology and build products to suit customer needs. They actively work on radically different set of technologies including open source technology in a market dominated by MNCs. Regions like Europe and countries like China and India, which are rich in geospatial talent pool, have hundreds of such small and medium enterprises (Table 2) creating innovative products and solutions catering to the MNCs and in some instances competing with them. China leads India on the manufacturing side though. Solution SME: These SMEs create value-added products and solutions that can be sold and deployed within a variety of vertical markets. They also customise products/solutions of principal companies to suit the users' needs. With growing use of geospatial technology, these solution SMEs are active in non-traditional domains as well. Countries like China and India have a good share of solution SMEs compared to regions like South East Asia, Middle East or Latin America. Service SME: These SMEs address specific customer needs on behalf of the MNCs. These companies engage in digitisation of paper records, create data using varied technologies and process the same. Trading SME: This set of small and medium companies act as the distributors and resellers of the products and technologies of principal companies. They also cleverly package, configure and customise these offerings for a specific market (both regional and vertical). These SMEs dominate the total SME segment in regions like Latin America, Africa, Middle East and South East Asia (Table2).

SMEs are the heartbeat of relationships with our mutual customers because they live and omers' daily challenges breathe custo - Bryn Fosburgh Vice President, Trimble

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Acquisitions driving industry evolution Over the past 10 years, geospatial industry evolved into a full-fledged industry. A substantial credit for this goes to the entry of new business entities, which cut through legacies and opened up newer market opportunities. This evolution may be termed fast and dramatic yet positive for the overall growth of the industry. In the course of this evolution, the industry witnessed several acquisitions and mergers. These can be categorised under the following heads -


ponent of an enterprise solution and the

olidation purposes: The acquisiFor conso

willingness to give up on non-essential

tion of Sokkia by Topcon, in a way, is a

components. It is difficult to achieve an

move to consolidate the individual

increased level of integration when the

strengths of these two Japanese compa-

tools are developed and managed by

nies to build one strong company offering

independent companies with heavy focus

complete solutions including optics, GPS

on their own business objectives. Existing

and scanning. The move also leveraged

partnership network and approach was

on individual companies' regional

inadequate to deal with such a situation

strengths (Sokkia strong in Asia while

as partners were more protective and

Topcon is strong in US and other

sceptical about their own business inter-

advanced markets).

ests. As a result, large geospatial companies started acquiring complementing

To add value to existing technology and

technologies which enabled them to offer

solutions: Recently, Bentley acquired UK-

more comprehensive products and solu-

based Pointools Ltd in order to integrate

To create end-to-end solutions: One of

tions. Hexagon AB is one fine example

point cloud processing in innovative ways

the important trends that dominated the

following this trend. Within seven years of

throughout its product portfolio. Similarly,

industry in the past few years is the solu-

its existence in geospatial industry, Hexa-

Esri bought Procedural to allow ArcGIS

tion centric approach adopted by technol-

gon acquired a complete range of

users to create and design 3D urban

ogy companies. This opened up ways for

geospatial technologies including GIS,

environments leveraging their existing 2D

the integration and convergence of sev-

surveying, photogrammetry, scanning,

data. These acquisitions successfully

machine control and imaging with an aim

added value to the existing products and

to create end-to-end solutions.

solutions of these technology companies.

entire workflow of an

To gain competitive advantage: Acquisi-

To have direct presence and provide local


tions in this space are also happening to

support: Several emerging economies in

and/or a gov-

gain domain specific competitive advan-

Asia, Africa and Latin America present

ernment depart-

tage in a particular business domain. Tom

immense business opportunities to the

Tom, which was once a user of Tele Atlas,

geospatial industry. Keen on having direct

chose to acquire the company to provide

presence in countries offering promise,

dynamic content for navigation and loca-

technology MNCs are buying their distrib-

eral core and peripheral technologies and their applications across the

ment. Building integrat-

tion based services. Nokia bought over

utors and SME partners who have been

requires huge

Navteq to provide maps, navigation serv-

supporting them in those geographies for


ices and LBS on its smartphones. This

long. Hitachi bought out Sierra Atlantic

was touted as a strategic move to gain an

who were agents for Inpho photogram-

edge in smartphone market at a

metric software as well as MATLAB.

ed solutions

into open technologies and more interoperable environment. They also require better understanding of the strengths and features of each com-


time when Google was antici-

Inpho is now part of Trimble. The buying

pated to enter this fiercely

of Elcome Technologies by Hexagon in

competitive market.

India is one such example. Trimble bought its distributors in India and Brazil. To increase market share: Strategic moves to gain a

GeospatialWorld I March 2012


To create end-to-end solution

To increase market size

To gain competitive advantage

To add value to existing tech/solutions

Consolida tion purposes

Diversification of products/ solutions

To have direct presence and provide local supportt

Hexagon-Intergraph Hexagon-SISGraph Hexagon-Leica Rolta-Orion Rolta-TUSC Trimble-Omnistar Trimble-Ashtech Trimble-Elcome Tech - secondary objective

Topcon-Sokkia Pitney Bowes - MapInfo Tom Tom-TeleAtlas

- primary objective;

Nokia-Navteq CSR-Sirf Bentley-Pointools Esri-Procedural Table 3: Primary and secondary objectives guiding acquisitions in geospatial industry

larger pie of the market are also driving

For example, Hexagon, with businesses in

dimension for geospatial industry and its

acquisitions. The acquisition of Intergraph

meteorology instrumentation, chose to

stakeholders. One of the most affected

by Hexagon can be termed as a move to

diversify by buying 180-year old Leica

and less-talked about stakeholders in this

have a bigger market share. Also, as the

Geosystems which is into the business of

changing ecosystem is the SME. Earlier,

market is becoming price sensitive,

surveying and mapping solutions.

SMEs' businesses were aligned to that of

MNCs are acquiring companies that

their principal partners and were heavily

would add low end variants to their prod-

In short, acquisitions and mergers in

reliant on the partnership network of the

uct basket. For example, Trimble has

geospatial domain are happening for a

principal companies. But in this acquisi-

variety of strategic reasons. Table 3 lists

tion age, SMEs have been affected in

out a few important acquisitions in

multiple ways owing to the realignment of

For diversification of products/solutions:

geospatial domain in the recent years

the partnerships networks of their princi-

Companies are seen buying out diverse

based on the above categorisation.

pal companies. Let us examine the

Nikon as a low-cost brand.

products to increase their footprint and

changing matrix in the geospatial industry

improve their performance in non-tradi-

These acquisitions and mergers brought

across the emerging markets of the world

tional domains of geospatial technology.

with them an altogether new business

vis-Ă -vis SMEs.

GeospatialWorld I March 2012


RELEVANCE OF SME’S IN NEW GEOSPATIAL BUSINESS ORDER The evolution of geospatial industry brought in the necessary technical, managerial and financial capabilities. However, this evolution brought in by the buyouts had huge impact on the prevailing conditions in the market, taking the 'middle men' (SMEs) by surprise. They also brought in a set of opportunities and challenges for SMEs, unique to different regions and verticals. Ironically, there is no single pattern here. Let us analyse the changing role of SMEs in the new business order of geospatial industry. Affect on the partner network The recent mergers and acquisitions disturbed the SME applecart significantly. The partner network of the acquired company got impacted as per the acquirer's strategic plan and on whether the acquired company is allowed to operate as an independent business unit after acquisition or not. A few trading SMEs were confused and finding it challenging to quickly reorient themselves to the new business reality while others were buoyant with the prospective gain in terms of economies of scale as the cost on extensive R&D for vertical integration is being borne by the principal technology companies. For instance, the Topcon-Sokkia deal and the Hexagon-Intergraph deal had tremendous impact on the existing alignment and partnership network of the industry.


There is an increasing expectation on SME partners to innovate and develop solutions by eir expertise in their respective applying the domains to add value and better exploit the technology, tools and functionality advances that geospatial products now offer - Raghu Ganeshan President Avineon India Pvt Ltd.

These deals left the distributors and resellers confused as competitors turned into allies overnight. Distributors were at a loss understanding the nature of future association with the partner until a clear picture emerged. This was the case in regions like Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Latin America, where a majority of SMEs are trading SMEs as depicted in Table 2. To avoid such situations, SMEs favour a participative, consultative approach by the principal companies to alleviate the affects of the situation. Increased value proposition Prior to the consolidation of geospatial industry, the partner network was primarily reselling the products and was instrumental in implementing the solutions. While these objectives continue, there is an increasing expectation on SME partners to innovate and develop solutions by applying their expertise in their respective domains to add value and better exploit the technology, tools and functionality advances that geospatial products now offer, says Raghu Ganeshan, President, Avineon India Pvt Ltd. For some, the mergers were an advantage. Geoscope, a distributor in UAE, who was earlier selling Ashtech products, is now dealing with a wider range of products in his portfolio after the acquisition of Ashtech by Trimble. However, the distributor is now facing increased competition resulting in lower margins. To avoid internal competition, technology companies are segmenting their dealers by verticals (GIS, surveying, construction etc). This is enabling the companies to minimise the monopoly of the dealers

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

while improving the value proposition of individual distributor. Solution-centric approach Solution centric approach is a major driver for improving the business potential of most of the industries. It is more relevant now in the geospatial industry than ever before because of the advances in technology that is allowing greater interoperability with other technologies. Improved access over the Web is also creating significant room for innovation towards solutions. This trend is turning to be a blessing in disguise for SMEs with strong domain knowledge. Such SMEs are being acquired by technology majors. Alternately, such SMEs started providing solutions being outsourced by the principal companies, says Ramesh Sojitra, Chairman and Managing Director, Scanpoint Geomatics Ltd., India. However in some cases in India, solution and service SMEs are finding themselves marginalised as most of the government contracts specify CMMi-L5 and turnover in excess of INR 100 crore (20 million USD) that virtually puts SMEs out of the running. In a bid to get business, SMEs are tying up with large companies that are offering lower rates to mitigate their execution risk and increase their profitability. The cost of servicing the account in such cases is more than the business margins. Also, due to lack of contractual binding between SMEs and big companies, there are instances where the latter replaced the SME after winning the contract, informs SD Baveja, Managing Director, Ridings Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd.

Technology majors are setting up their own infrastructure in emerging economies. This condition is contradicting the ideal industry pyramid and disregarding the rights and privileges of SMEs - Randolf Vicentre President, RSV Geoconsulting & Management Services, Philippines

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Principal companies setting up own infrastructure In a move to increase their footprint, principal companies are strengthening their local presence by setting up their own technical and sales infrastructure in emerging economies. This is to ensure better implementation of their products and solutions drawing on their rich global experience and complementing the SMEs' abilities. With a belief in a collaborative sales model, principal companies are vouching by their local business partners as they directly maintain and nurture customer relationships while providing the local knowledge needed to build value-added solutions for joint customers. However, a few see these moves as direct competition to the SMEs, threatening their sustenance. If an SMEs only value proposition is its strong sales channel, wide spread local presence and selling expertise, this is proving be a matter of concern, says Raghu. This is non-beneficial if the local personnel are unable to support SMEs due to lack of expertise or some strategic reasons, opines Mohd Ronizam Ramly, Head of Geospatial Dept, GeoInfo Services, Malaysia. Randolf Vicentre, President, RSV Geoconsulting & Management Services, a service provider from Philippines, opines that this condition is contradicting the ideal industry pyramid and is disregarding the rights and privileges of SMEs. He adds that these moves are affecting SMEs in terms of market share, profitability and sustainability among others. He however adds that SMEs are getting ingenious in crafting solu-


Principal companies developing platform technologies will always seek out components ey see value both in terms of from SMEs if the features as well as cost - Sanjay K Agarwalla Chief Executive Officer Integrated Digital Systems, India

tions to address these concerns. Concurring with this idea, Dr Hussein Harahsheh, General Manager, Global Scan Technologies, UAE, feels that this move will eliminate the role of the distributor, especially in a market like the Middle East. Taking a diametrically opposite stance, a few trading SMEs distributing survey products see business value in the local infrastructure being set up by their principal partners. With local support, these SMEs are able to boast or even up sell products and promise the clients that with local support, there will be shorter down times, improved turnaround times and generally are able to work on a more efficient pace than other competitors who do not have local support and infrastructure. According to Neo John Ji, Sales Manager, Kodi Engineering Services, Singapore-based agent of Sokkia, this easily translates in the minds of the customer into a 'higher' value product which is invariantly 'fuss-free'. This also helps them reap the benefits of faster, better and more efficient after-sales rapport with the customers. Developing components and utilities to support platform tech

In addition to distributing products, SMEs are playing a key role in developing and customising components and utilities on top of principal companies' solutions through APIs. This added functionality is proving to be a competitive advantage over other solution providers, argues Bryn. This is also positioning the distributor as a local expert and trusted advisor as they gain deeper insight into their customers' workflows and needs. In addition, SMEs are also providing industry specific solutions complementing to those offered by their principal partners. With the changing dynamics of geospatial industry, apprehensions are ripe over the continuity of this trend and the continued relevance of SMEs. However, several industry experts opine that this trend will continue to prosper and improve the SMEs bottomline. Technology is constantly changing and emerging technologies will constantly feed the need to develop solutions on top of platform technologies. In fact, SMEs have the uphill task of staying abreast of emerging technologies and as long as they recognise it, prepare for it and invest in it, they will have the advantage of being the right choice to solve their clients' business-specific problems. This capability is essentially is turning out to be the unique selling proposition of SMEs in catering to specific vertical markets. Also, the principal companies developing platform technologies will always seek out components from SMEs if they see value both in terms of features as well as cost, says Sanjay K Agarwalla, CEO, Integrated Digital Systems, India. They will clearly leverage on the capabilities of SMEs, integrate SMEs' technologies into their core platforms and positively establish win-win business models with the SMEs, infers Mladen Stojic, Vice President, Intergraph. SMEs as 'off-the-shelf' companies SMEs have traditionally been providing value added components to geospatial industry and supporting the users with specific solutions. As technology companies started acquiring and/or partnering with companies offering complementing solutions/technologies, it is increasingly observed that SMEs are becoming 'off-theshelf' companies. They are developing their businesses


GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Type of SME

Technology SME

Type of acquisition

To create end-to-end solutions

Potential target for acquisition and/or added business opportunity

(++) To capture market size


Solution SME Reduced business opportunity

Service SME NIL


Trading SME Partner network affected




Partner network affected

(+/-) To gain competitive advantage in respective business domains

Potential business opportunity

Potential business opportunity

Potential business opportunity

Partner network affected





To add value to existing tech and solutions

Reduced business opportunity


Partner network affected


Reduced business opportunity (-)

Reduced market

Reduced market

Reduced market

Less partner alliance





Reduced market

Value addition or reduced market

Better business

Competition and/or value addition

For consolidation purposes

For have direct presence and provide local support






Table 4: Affect of acquisitions on SMEs

with a targeted buyer in mind (often their technology partner) and are getting readily sold to that specific buyer or its competitor for lucrative offer. A few technology companies maintain that their strong relationship with SME partners is ensuring a regular and vibrant conversation for business planning. Bryn believes that Trimble's SMEs are creating businesses that are 'ready to grow and prosper' and are not 'ready-to-be-sold' businesses. Acknowledging the trend, a few other technology majors however beg to depart from this opinion. Identifying this to be an unhealthy trend, Mladen believes that the spirit and philosophies that made SMEs successful to begin with (having customer focus as their mainstay) is deteriorating. The unique understanding of a specific

Principal technology companies will clearly leverage on the capabilities of SMEs, integrate technollogies into their core platforms and positively establish win-win business models with the SMEs - Mladen Stojic Vice President, Intergraph

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

customer is exactly what larger companies look for when considering an SME to acquire. It is critical for SME's to continue to focus on solving customer problems with leading-edge technologies. If they keep themselves focussed on the customer, they will clearly become visible in the eyes of larger organisations that also seek to solve the same set of problems. By modifying their business models to that of being sold, financial ripples will occur. Spending in R&D and application development will suffer, thereby hampering the unique value proposition that the SME once had. Developing a business process on top of a primary product and selling it out to the primary product players SMEs are terming this as a strategic business call to ensure their survival. In doing so, SMEs are taking into consideration many factors such as their investment capacity to push the product to market on their own, ability to scale and reach out to clients across the globe, ability to maintain the product and keep up with newer versions and releases of the primary product. However, designing business process to suit large partners will hamper the multi-dimensional growth of the SME, thus leading to loss of identity in the long run, surmises Nikhil Dakshindas, Associate Vice President, ADCC Infocad Pvt Ltd, India.


WAY FORWARD Geospatial functionality is a horizontal capability that provides value to a variety of industries. While technology majors are providing the software and hardware solutions with significant geospatial capabilities, knowledge and expertise of solution SMEs are helping to mix and match various products, integrating different technologies and adding value to suit the workflows and needs of customers in different vertical industries. As this trend continues, SMEs are also looking forward to provide customised solutions in local language and develop customised workflows based on specific country requirements. While uncertainty prevails both in the economy and in the industry, SMEs are working on acquiring as much knowledge and skill as they can, so that even if they lose certain products or if they have to align themselves with a new technology partner, they can adapt quickly and survive, argues CS Lim, GPS Lands, a Singapore based Trimble distributor. In a bid to commoditise geospatial technology, a few technology majors are coming up with innovative plans to split their products into hundreds of small utilities and make them available on devices like ipad and smartphones. The increasing permeability of the cloud will act as a catalyst in this process. For this scenario to take off, solution SMEs will be increasingly roped in and this will push them up the value chain of geospatial industry. However, trading SMEs, which constitute a chunk of SMEs in the geospatial ecosystem, may not find great prospects coming forth in this proposition. Technology majors are growing and moving into new industries creating significant opportunities for SMEs. The onus is now on the SMEs to

SMEs are working on acquiring as much knowledge and skill as they can, so that even if ertain products or if they have to align they lose ce themselves with a new technology partner, they can adapt quickly and survive - C S Lim GPS Lands, Singapore

work in the domain and industry they enjoy and take the advantage of working closely and growing with these global companies, exhorts Bryn. This will create a new paradigm for success for the SMEs and the technology majors alike in the future.

CONCLUSION SMEs are innovating at a very fast pace and breaking the rules of what was once considered impossible. They typically are beginning as young, dynamic start-ups with passion for technology and success, combined with a recipe for accomplishing tasks quickly, cost-effectively and with high quality. They are turning to be the trailblazers on a mission and are instrumental in increasing the awareness of what is now possible with geospatial technology. Under difficult economic circumstances and changing dynamics of geospatial industry, some of these SMEs are strained and under tremendous pressure. But with indestructible spirit, these SMEs are turning the challenges into opportunities that were previously unimagined and breaking down the walls of traditional thinking. The way forward for these SMEs is to make investments to move up the value chain; from being traders to creators of knowledge and business value. Sanjay Kumar, CEO, Bhanu Rekha, Executive Editor, The authors would like to acknowledge colleagues Deepali Roy, Aditi Bhan and Vaibhav Arora for their valuable support to the article.

Acknowledgement The authors would like to thank the following companies for sharing their valuable inputs: Americas: Trimble, Intergraph, Alezi Teodolini; Middle East: Global Scan Technologies, Global Technologies, Sigma Enterprises LLC, Dutco Leica Geosystems and Geoscope; South East Asia: GeoInfo Services, Astronautics Technology SB, Geo Millennium System, Barata Technologies, Pt. Duta Astakona Girinda, Global-Trak Systems, RSV Geoconsulting & Management Services, GPS Lands, Kodi Engineering Services and Innovative Mapping Solutions; India: Avineon India Pvt Ltd, Integrated Digital Systems, ADCC Infocad Pvt Ltd, Scanpoint Geomatics Ltd, Ridings Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd and Sumadhura Geomatica Pvt Ltd.


GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Xiang Yu, Peace Map Co., Ltd.

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nergy is the pulse of modern society, encompassing people's lives more than ever before. Beyond individual use at home or at work, a range of essential activities - including agriculture, computing, manufacturing, construction, health and social services - depend on access to energy. Availability of reliable, high quality energy is the key fuel for any nation's economy. However, population growth and expanding global economy, with thrust on development activities, are leading to increasing growth in global energy consumption. Energy major ExxonMobil



sees global energy demand rise by about 30 percent from 2010 to 2040. One of the most essential sectors in meeting modern energy needs is the electricity generation and transmission sector. Energy company ExxonMobil projects that by 2040, worldwide electricity demand will be 80 percent higher than it was in 2010. In addition to the growing demand, this sector is also faced with calls for improved efficiency in power generation and transmission, to keep costs under control and increase awareness about environmental issues including global warming.

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

So how well are the current electric grids equipped to meet the challenges? Developed regions like Europe and North America are witnessing increasing incidences of electricity blackouts, as evident from the recent spate of the outages, reflecting, according to experts, the shortcomings of aging and outdated electricity grids. In the US alone, major power outages have more than doubled in the last decade. Electrical grids in developing nations are inadequately equipped to supply reliable and high quality power supply and are challenged with issues like power theft. Clearly, the current energy systems have a lot of catching up to do. The entire cycle of production, distribution, and consumption of energy, therefore needs to be smarter.

system and take timely remedial action to predict and prevent electrical breakdown. Smart grid makes effective use of technology and automation to achieve reliability and quality of power supply.

Minimising losses Losses in transmission and distribution networks represent one of the biggest concerns in any electricity system. Technical losses occur naturally and consist mainly SMART GRID of power dissipation in electricity system components The electric utility industry is taking due cognizance of such as transmission and distribution lines, transformers the predicament of the existing systems. Ushering in a and measurement systems. Non-technical losses are new era of managing energy demand and growth, the caused by actions external to the power system and conindustry is transforming its electric infrastructure to sist primarily of electricity theft, non-payment by cusmaximise efficiency and reliability by leveraging modern tomers, and errors in accounting and record-keeping. technology. Making the grid "intelligent" through the use Globally, these losses amount to about 15 percent of total of information and communication technology (ICT) is power generated; in countries like India the losses can be referred to as smart grid. The US Department of Energy's as high as 30 percent. Deepak V Konnur, Vice President publication The Smart Grid: An Introduction explains that Solutions, Energy & Utility Industry, IBM India/South Asia a smart grid uses "digital technology to improve reliabilishares that the traditional power system, with its basic ty, security and efficiency of the electric system from structure not being changed for decades, was designed large generation, through the delivery systems to elecfor a smaller set of customers. With the smart grid, enertricity consumers and a growing number of distributiongy distribution can be managed like a global system with generation and storage resources." Smart grid can be higher efficiency and productivity. Solutions such as considered as "computerising" the electric utility grid. A capability of remote disconnection on non-payment by key feature of the smart grid is automation technology consumers, automatic alarms when network is being that lets the utility adjust and control encroached or when people engage in each individual device or millions of theft, will enable utilities stop pilferA key feature of devices from a central location. age and avoid unsafe situations or the smart grid is Elaborating on the need for smart accidents. Smart grid can help preautomation technology grids, Jayant Sinha, Associate Vice vent power theft to a greater extent, that lets the utility President (Power/ IT), SPANCO Ltd. thereby improving the efficiency of adjust and control says that one of the biggest chaldistribution systems. Thus grids can e ach individual device lenges in power distribution is mainprovide higher quality and reliable or millions of devices taining consistent, reliable and quality power supply, with fewer blackouts. from a central location power supply. This needs a robust Different countries are finding their electrical distribution network, with own solutions to address this issue in-built redundancies and an intellithrough grid intelligence. Geoff cites gent control system to capture the electrical network the instance of Brazil where the intention is to install a parameters, in real-time, to monitor the health of the large number of sensors on the power distribution

GeospatialWorld I March 2011


installed which relay the energy and load profile data, in real time, using advances communication technologies like GPRS, GSM, CDMA, etc. to the central control centre, informs Jayant. Also, SCADA provides the data on the status and health of the electric network. The energy and network data is then processed and analysed through software application to generate real-time MIS reports and therefore enable informed decisions on peak load management and load balancing.

network (and on water distribution networks) to allow utilities to determine where losses occur and their magnitude. The sensors are real-time monitoring devices which provide a way of monitoring power usage and recording historical usage patterns. Balancing loads Managing loads more effectively is one of the things that smart grid is all about. Smart grid can intelligently respond to sudden peaks or drops in demand and energy supply. Smart grid can help isolate the outage and prevent it from spreading. By monitoring activity on transmission lines in real time, a smart grid also can help pinpoint a problem and redirect power accordingly. With thousands of sensors and operators equipped with a better understanding of the way the system is running, a smart grid is predictive rather than reactive to prevent emergencies. Sensors such as synchrophasors that are typically installed on transmission lines and comprised of GPS-synchronised clocks, phasor measurement units and data concentrator, allow granular, real-time monitoring of system disturbances and imbalances in order to maximise load by automating demand/load balancing. A smart grid implementation has a two-way communication between the electricity supply grid and the control systems. All the supply points, like the substation feeders and distribution transformers, have intelligent metres


Cost effectiveness With rising costs of capital, raw material and labour, maximising cost effectiveness is a priority for electricity companies. This cost effectiveness comes from the enabling technologies in the smart grid which allow for better load management, accurate analysis of energy consumption data, load forecasting and taking prompt control action to prevent supply breakdowns and minimising energy losses, says Jayant. Smart grid projects are already helping consumers save 10% on their bills and are reducing peak demand by 15%, informs Deepak. He adds that optimal asset utilisation can be planned with online data of overloading of transformers and network, which can help reduce or prevent failures. With mobile workforce, groups can work collectively to organise assets and then maintain, renovate and replace them. This results in increased productivity and fuel saving. Environmental responsibility Traditional electrical grids have not been known to be environment friendly, not laying much emphasis on monitoring carbon emissions. Greater demand for energy too implies the subsequent increase in carbon emissions. Also, the major electricity-generation source has been coal, which is carbon-based and non-renewable. Gradually however, environmental regulations, requiring power

Environmental regulations, requiring power plants and other industrial facilities to reduce their ca arbon emissions, are becoming tighter globally. Energy systems can become smart by addressing these issues intelligently

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

plants and other industrial facilities to reduce their carbon emissions, are becoming tighter globally and policies are emerging that will seek to curb emissions by imposing a cost on higher-carbon fuels. Energy systems can become smart by addressing these issues intelligently. According to the US Department of Energy, implementing smart grid technologies can reduce carbon emissions by leveraging demand response/load management to minimise the use of costly peaking generation that is comparatively fuel inefficient, and by facilitating increased energy efficiency through consumer education, programmes leveraging the usage of information and time-variable pricing. Deepak says that the infusion of digital intelligence enables the power grids to automate, monitor and control the two-way flow of energy across all aspects of the energy value chain-from power plant to plug. A smart grid will seamlessly integrate all sustainable energy technologies-from electric vehicles to solar systems and wind farms-and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Jayant adds that one of the objectives of smart grid is to develop systems to create a clean and green energy environment. Smart grid aims to achieve this objective by using energy efficient devices and adopting clean technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Emphasising on the role of renewable energy sources, Geoff says that one of the most important drivers for intelligent networks in many countries is the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources, such as PV solar and wind. Sensing imbalances and reconfiguring the network in real time is a necessity with such a high proportion of intermittent sources. Many renewable energy options provide power on an intermittent and variable basis or do not deliver power at times of peak demand â&#x20AC;&#x201C; when the demand for power is greatest and the emissions can be higher than average. By using smart grid technologies, and smart grid practices like demand response, the electricity system can accept and manage the amount of renewable energy that policymakers and

GeospatialWorld I March 2011

the renewable energy industry desire and expect to be developed. While smart grids can be used to optimise the non-conventional sources of energy, Deepak presents a caveat. He says that it would pose some challenges related to the efficiency and stability of interconnected systems. Due to the variable nature of energy, it is essential to develop an interconnected standard to enable the grid sustain variability of different sources of power without affecting the reliability and quality of power adversely.

GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY IN SMART ENERGY As seen earlier, smart grid involves overlaying information and communication technologies on electric transmission and distribution networks. Implementing or building a business case for advanced metering system (AMS) or advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) programmes is often a utility's first involvement in smart grid efforts. Over the past few years, the trends in the applications of geospatial data and technologies have been in sync with the overall trend in ICT applications. Increasingly, IT and communications are converging with geospatial technology, offering exciting possibilities. This convergence is being witnessed in smart grid too. IT systems like SAP, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) and DMS (document management system) have played a significant role in the modernisation of electric grid management. As geospatial technology makes its siginficance felt in the system, it is important to effectively integrate it with existing technologies. Jayant says that geospatial technology helps in the mapping of the electrical network with all the required attributes on a GIS base map. SCADA and DMS require the same set of electrical attributes for monitoring the status of the network and taking effective control action to stabilise the network. The integration of the GIS with SCADA and DMS can be done by adopting the common information model (CIM) which uses standard interfaces for integration of heterogeneous systems. On the aplication side, the use of service oriented architecture (SOA) is used for


Courtesy: US Dept. of Energy

integration. Geoff says that standards are critical to enable the integration of SCADA and DMS systems with other network systems. This used to be a major challenge because SCADA systems relied on highly proprietary technology that made it very difficult to integrate SCADA with other systems including GIS. SCADA managers have often expressed they would be very interested in integrating geographical information with their SCADA system, but that it was technically too difficult. This is changing and SCADA systems rely increasingly on standards-based protocols such as packet-switched networks. Modern DMS systems also rely on standardsbased protocols so that integrating geospatial data is no longer the technical challenge it used to be.Increasingly, geospatial technology is emerging as a significant platform to support intelligent electric networks. Utilities have a tremendous amount of data and a large workforce in the field. To manage them and to implement smart grid, GIS can aid the electric utilities companies in data management, planning and analysis and situational awareness, according to Esri. With GIS, utilities can cap-


ture the mashup of information related to the smart grid, from customer behaviour and the placement of smart metres to the location of electric vehicle chargers and renewable resources. To see whether a smart grid deployment is effective, utilities can use GIS to analyse marketing campaigns and study customer behaviour patterns along with demand response. GIS can also help identify vulnerabilities, weigh asset investments and gauge customer response to a smart grid implementation. Through GIS-based graphic outputs and Web-based reporting, utilities can quickly monitor and demonstrate how the organisation is progressing on smart grid activities. A smart grid relies on accurate data. Mobile GIS is one of the most efficient ways to move data quickly to and from the field and the office. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) can contribute in collecting field and location data. Workforce management system (WFMS) and outage management system (OMS) are two applications specially developed to enhance efficiency of the field staff. Inte-

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

grated with GIS, the two applicabetween metering system, energy tions can further benefit by management system, mainteeasily locating the fault, nance management system, maintaining histories and SCADA and GIS, which is action-taken reports an extremely challenging and perform various task. Another challenge analyses on GIS platis the adherence of form. uniform standards Geospatial techfor system internology also has a faces, data exchange significant role to and communication play in renewable protocols, across energy development multiple platforms, mentioned earlier. for seamless integraOne of the most tion. The key to smart important reasons is energy according to him location. Geospatial is technology standardistechnology can overcome ation, use of intelligent the difficulty that can occur electronic devices and appliin locating any kind of energy cation design based on service sources, particularly renewable, oriented architecture. without following some type of geoAnother area that everyone can The SmartGrid as enabling engine graphic information system (GIS) proparticipate in, to make energy Courtesy: World Economic Forum cedures. GIS can also help in identifysmarter, is smarter usage of energy ing optimal location for setting up the power generation in the home and in businesses. Geoff illustrates that systems - things like where to put up a solar panel or a many countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic wind farm. Acquiring land base information about the terand Malaysia and jurisdictions such as Ontario, have ritory that is being analysed is an important aspect in implemented feed-in-tariff programmes that encourage establishing renewable energy plants. small-scale renewable energy installation at the home or place of business. Smart metres allow monitoring of FUTURE PROSPECTS electric power usage by the hour or every quarter of an Nations across the world are fast acknowledging that hour. A simple way that everyone can contribute to reduc21st century economies can't be run on 20th century ing the need to build new power plants is to use energy grids. And as developing countries continue along their more intelligently by evening out demand over 24 hours, path of aggressive economic growth, they need modern, instead of concentrating usage at peak times. intelligent grids. CONCLUSION The smart grid is no longer just a concept, it's a Increasing demand, aging infrastructure, tightening necessity. Deepak says that governments, regulators and environmental norms, keeping costs under control and utility companies across the globe need to ensure the demand for access to the power grid. By providing timely exhausting energy sources are causing companies to and detailed information on energy consumption, a smart relook at their processes. These companies are fast grid will allow utilities and consumers alike to be more realising that the processes need to be more "intelligent" efficient in their energy use. and "smart" and are engaging in the same by leveraging Such an upcoming system is not without its share of appropriate technologies. implementation challenges. Jayant observes that smart Deepali Roy, Assistant Editor, grid implementation entails high level integration

GeospatialWorld I March 2011



Time to think alternative! World focus is now shifting towards renewable and non-polluting sources of energy. Here is a look at how geospatial tech can play an effective role in exploiting these sources. eopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lives are dependent on energy more


than ever before. However, with the world population touching 7 billion, the energy sector is feeling the heat of enormous demand. The biggest challenge is that the traditional energy sources like coal and oil are exhaustible. It is here that the alternative or renewable energy resources like hydropower, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy and biomass are stepping in, with the potential to fill in the demand-supply gap.

According to a report by the United Nations, global renewable investment, in hydro power, wind, geothermal, solar power and ocean energy, are forecast at USD 1.36 - USD 5.1 trillion for the decade to 2020 and USD 1.49 USD 7.18 trillion from 2012-30. It also observed that about 140 gigawatts (GW) of added electricity generating capacity came from renewable energy resources during 2008-09, of a world total of 300 GW. According to a market report by Datamonitor, Renewable Energy: Global Industry Guide, the global renewable energy market grew by 6.8 percent in 2010 to reach a value of USD 322.5 billion. In 2015, the global renewable energy market is forecast to have a value of USD 479.9 billion, an increase of 48.8 percent since 2010. In one of its report in 2009, Worldwatch Institute calculated the worldwide potential for various sources of renewable energy which is presented in Table1. Geospatial technology has an important role to play in developing and managing these renewable energy resources. Here's a look at some of the key alternative energy resources


GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Energy sources

Potential capacity

Role of geospatial tech


1600 EJ (444,000 TWh)



600 EJ (167,000 TWh)


500 EJ (139,000 TWh)


250 EJ (70,000 TWh)


50 EJ (14,000 TWh)


1 EJ (280 TWh)

For hydropower development, environmental assessment and detailed information about river morphology and catchment areas are very essential. Using geospatial technology, one can map a river's morphology and changing behaviours. The technology helps in accurate calculation of water discharge, drainage density and drainage length. A GIS-based drainage database system provides a holistic scenario of a river system, which is not possible even when conducting detailed field survey. According to hydropower spcialists, the development of this source in a terrain requires thorough study of geology, topography, land use patterns, distribution patterns of biodiversity resources, infrastructure, socio-economic activities and so on. Due to altitudinal variation, 2D mapping may not be enough to understand the topographic characteristics of terrains. Hence, one should always prefer 3D visualisation and use a digital elevation model (DEM). The DEM helps to calculate slope gradient. Using DEM, one can develop different models and simulations to understand various scenarios after constructing a dam in the river channel.

Tidal energy is derived from the kinetic energy of the ocean water flow. It is similar to the way a wind turbine operates in air. Tidal energy is considered as another form of hydropower. As water is more than 800 times denser than air, water moving 12 miles per hour (mph) may exert about the same amount of force as a constant 110 mph wind. This fact shows the enormous potential of production of tidal energy. Identifying the potential of tidal power, French utility giant Electricite de France collaborated with Irish marine technology company OpenHyrdro to build the world's largest tidal power station - off the northern coast of France. The project, which commenced work in 2008, will cost around USD 56.5 million and is expected to be completed in 2012. Once completed, the 8 MW facility will consist of four tidal turbines and will be capable of generating enough energy to power around 4,000 homes. Realising the potential of tidal power, the energy industry is betting high on it. Siemens, the German engineering giant that manufactured and laid underwater Atlantic cables between the US and Europe, has

Table 1: Potential of renewable energy

and the role of geospatial technology in this process.

HYDROPOWER Hydropower is a form of energy that comes from the force of moving water. According to Renewables Global Status Report 2011, hydropower production represented about 16 percent of global electricity production in 2010. An estimated 30 GW of capacity was added during the year, with existing global capacity reaching an estimated 1,010 GW. Asia (led by China) and Latin America (led by Brazil) are the most active regions for new hydropower capacity to be deployed. Some of the major hydropower projects under construction are presented in Table 2. Worldwatch Institute states that hydropower is produced in at least 150 countries. The Asia-Pacific region generated roughly 32 percent of global hydropower in 2010. Africa produces the least hydropower, accounting for 3 percent of the world total, but is considered the region with the greatest potential for increased production. In 2008, four countries-Albania, Bhutan, Lesotho, and Paraguay-generated all their electricity from hydropower, and 15 countries generated at least 90 percent of their electricity from hydro. Iceland, New Zealand and Norway produce the most hydropower per capita.

GeospatialWorld I March 2011


Maximum Capacity


Construction Started

Scheduled Completion

Siang Upper HE Project

11,000 MW


April, 2009


Belo Monte Dam

11,181 MW


March, 2011


Xiluodu Dam

12,600 MW


December 26, 2005


Shuangjiangkou Dam

2,000 MW


December, 2007


Ahai Dam

2,000 MW


July 27, 2006


Lower Subansiri Dam

2,000 MW




Ludila Dam

2,100 MW




Tocoma Dam BolĂ­var State

2,600 MW




Table 2: Major projects under construction



By 2017, the worldwide wind energy industry will be worth USD 153 billion - up from USD 77 billion in 2011: Pike Research

taken majority ownership of Marine Current Turbines (MCT) that develops and builds tidal power systems. Siemens estimates that global carbon reduction commitments are increasing demand for reliable marine current power. It observed that the ocean energy sector can expect double-digit annual growth rates up to 2020.

Role of geospatial tech According to Georgia Tech Research Corporation, geospatial tools allow users to view the full spatial distribution of the pre-calculated available power density and then to enter bathymetric constraints and energy converter specific parameters to tailor the output for particular regions. It includes GIS model which consists of a database containing results from the tidal model and several computational tools which extract useful information for the user. The database consists of the tidal costituents for the water level, depth-averaged currents and the mean lower low water (MLLW) depths at a high resolution (10-500 m spacing). These tidal constituents are used to derive velocity, power density and other parameters of interest as requested by users in near real time.


Human being acknowledged power of wind energy 5500 years ago when they used it to propel sailboats and sailing ships. In addition, windmills were used for irrigation pumping and for milling grain. Now, they fitted multi-bladed wind turbine atop a tower with generators and battery banks to produce electricity as it is environment friendly and nonexhaustible. According to a report by Pike Research; by 2017, the worldwide wind energy industry will be worth USD 153 billion - up from USD 77 billion in 2011 - with an installed wind power capacity of 562.9 GW compared to 235.8 GW in 2011. The report also observed that this source is providing up to one-fifth of energy supplies in some countries. While the global economic slowdown affected the sector in 2010, turbine deployment activity remained strong. According to World Wind Energy Report 2010, the Chinese wind energy market represented more than half of the world market for new wind turbines, adding 18,9 GW. A sharp decline in new capacity was witnessed in the US whose share in new wind turbines fell down to 14.9 percent (5.6 GW), after 25.9 percent (9.9 GW) in 2009. Nine other countries that can be seen as major markets, with turbine sales in a range between 0.5 and 1.5 GW, are: Germany, Spain, India, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Sweden and Romania.

critical component of the wind deployment model used to meet 20 percent of all energy demand, according to Esri, which played a lead role in implementing GIS at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US. Using GIS, one can determine the most favourable locations for wind farms based on the cost of transmission, locations of load centres and wind resources and the layout of the electrical grid. GISbased modelling enables analysis of terrain, which significantly impacts the quality of wind at a particular site. By loading utility data into the GIS, researchers can quickly see the existing transmission routes and estimate the benefits of accessing existing electric lines. In the US, another important consideration for developers is land ownership. Landuse data in GIS identifies areas under development restrictions from the US Bureau of Land Management and those requiring right-of-way grants. According to NRG Systems, wind energy assessment technology provider, wind energy is not provided with the US government subsidies.

Role of geospatial tech Updated maps were a

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

The wind energy industry therefore needs to be as cost efficient as possible, especially in evaluating potential wind farm locations. More and more developers are using SODAR (sonic detection and ranging) and LiDAR technologies to support wind resource assessments. Tools, basedon these remote sensing technologies, are easy to use and move from site to site. It helps energy analysts in characterising the potential of the wind farms accurately.

dle East and North Africa region. India is also considering setting up a company with an initial capital of around USD 405.6 million to build federal solar projects and help the country achieve a target of 20 GW of solar energy capacity by 2022. The company - Solar Energy Corp. of India - will gradually take over the responsibility for federal solar projects from NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd., an arm of India's largest power producer NTPC Ltd.


Role of geospatial tech

According to Renewables Global Status Report 2011, solar photovoltaic (PV) industry had an extraordinary year, with global production and markets more than doubling in 2010 than previous year. An estimated 17 GW of capacity was added worldwide (compared with just under 7.3 GW in 2009), bringing the global total to about 40 GW - more than seven times the capacity in place five years earlier. The European Union dominated the global PV market, led by Italy and particularly Germany which installed more PV in 2010 than the entire world did the previous year. The trend of utility-scale PV plants continued, with the number of such systems exceeding 5,000 and accounting for almost 25 percent of total global PV capacity. In addition, after years of inactivity, the concentrating solar thermal power market came back to life with nearly 740 MW added during 2007-10. More than half of this capacity was installed during 2010. The report also observed that project development is moving beyond the US Southwest region and Spain to other regions and countries, particularly the Mid-

Geospatial technology experts say that the technology provides a means for identifying and quantifying the factors affecting the potential of available solar energy. In addition, it also helps enrich the database. The spatial database of resource availability and the demand helps in the regional energy planning. An instance can be seen in Germany. Recent results of the SUNAREA Research Project concluded that about 20 percent of the country's rooftops are suitable for solar power production. For this project, SUN-AREA researchers collected rooftop data using aerial laser scanners. Using GIS software, they identified various aspects of rooftop data, such as outer form, inclination, orientation and clouding. The team used an algorithm sequence created using the software, to determine the solar potential of all roof areas. The SUNAREA project also calculated solar suitability,

GeospatialWorld I March 2011

India to invest INR 20 billion (USD 405.6 million) to achieve a target of 20 gigawatts of solar ene ergy capacity by 2022

potential power output, CO2 reduction and investment volume for each sub-area of a roof. In another part of the globe, Masdar city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is working on an ambitious plan to reduce carbon footprint. The city is located 30 kilometres from Abu Dhabi city. It aims to meet the goals of zero waste, sustainable living and ultimately carbon neutrality. CH2M HILL company, which is providing GIS tech support to Masdar, is extensively using geospatial technology to design this future city. Most of the electricity for the city will be generated


Energy crops, raised on abandoned croplands and pasturelands globally, can yield about 27 exajouless of energy each year: Report

through a photovoltaic power plant, while the city's cooling will be provided via concentrated solar power. The company considered the geography of the area: sun angles, wind patterns, street widths and building density and height. The orientation of the buildings on a diagonal grid to provide maximum natural shading was modelled on GIS software.

BIOMASS ENERGY According to a report published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, abandoned croplands and pasturelands globally amount to approximately 1.5 million square miles. Realistically, energy crops raised on this land could be expected to yield about 27 exajoules


of energy each year. This is a huge amount of energy-an exajoule is a billion billion joules, equivalent to 172 million barrels of oil. Yet, till 2005, the biomass yield can still satisfy only about 5 percent of global primary energy consumption by human beings, which was 483 exajoules. In 2009, the biomass power industry in the US, which generated approximately 11,000 MW, produced about 1.4 percent of the US electricity supply. The largest biomass gasification project in the world is being planned in Finland. Global engineering and technology corporation, Metso, is behind the venture. By using Metso's technology to replace coal with wood-based renewables to generate energy, the plant will be able to generate around 140 MW, making the operation the largest of its kind worldwide.

Role of geospatial tech The geographic distribution and quantity of biomass depend on the relationship between ecological zones and the climatic conditions. Geospatial technology helps in collecting, exploring, analysing, and visualising the biomass data. Researchers claim that they use a combination of historical data, satellite imagery and productivity models to determine best-case estimates of potential yields and of how much biomass could sustainably contribute to the world's energy needs, while also mitigating global warming.

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY According to a report on the geothermal energy market by ABS Energy Research, this market will grow by 78 percent, from 10,711 MW at the end of 2009 to 19,016 MW in 2015. In terms of new capacity, growth markets will be the three biggest geothermal countries: the US, the Philippines and Indonesia. The number of countries generating geothermal electricity is expected to rise from 24 at the end of 2009 to 36 in 2015.

Role of geospatial tech In all phases of geothermal resources development, exploration, resource appraisal, drilling, exploitation and management of steam/hot water fields, most of the resource data/information is location based (or geographic data). GIS therefore emerges as the best option for handling the information.

CONCLUSION Renewable energy options are plenty. The performance of these resources depends on location-based variables, implying the need for geospatial analysis to find the best fit for each segment. Geospatial technology is therefore proving to be an essential component of decision making process in renewable energy. The ongoing and increasingly enhanced observations about these energy sources will continue to improve the quality of the analysis and hence the performance of the power plants. The move to renewable power is definitely on. Anand Kayshap Sub-Editor,

GeospatialWorld I March 2012


SUSTAINABILITY ON THE AGENDA With the planet reeling under pressure from thoughtless human activities, the need of the hour o create awareness by devising effective information sharing mechanisms and policies. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an is to insiight into some of the ongoing initiatives in this direction and the way forward sh, the protagonist in the 1992 Hollywood flick Army of Darkness, wakes up after his long slumber and finds himself in a post-apocalyptic future, where the world has been reduced to rubble and the human race wiped off the face of the earth. While apocalypse may not strike us in a flash as most future seers predict, the doomsday prophecy may indeed become a reality if we do not act quickly.

A 42

The world today is plagued by plenty of problems and most of these issues are a result of thoughtless human actions. "I think the planet is in a mess and there is no question in my mind that human activities are behind this rapid climate change," says British primatologist, anthropologist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall. According to a report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 2011 was one of the warmest years

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

on record and witnessed natural calamities like droughts, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis of increased intensity resulting in huge loss of life and property around the globe. While political leaders and environment experts around the world have been busy deliberating on the kind of efforts required to safeguard the planet, the fact, unfortunately, remains that things have been static in most cases. The good thing, however, is that we live in times of modern technology, a world of endless possibilities where the situation is much better than it has ever been till a few decades ago. We are much more informed and better equipped to deal with the global environmental challenges. Information is out there and the need is to simply identify, analyse, communicate and use it at a place where most required and in a way that is easily understood by the users.

Environment Factbox

ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES AND INFORMATION There are several environmental challenges facing mankind today like global warming, food/potable water scarcity, species extinction, increase in natural disasters, pollution and population explosion. Credible information is critical to understand the extent of the problem. Most of the environmental challenges warrant solutions at global and regional level and so exchange of information among nations is the best way to create awareness and devise ways to tackle the issue effectively. A sneak peek at the history of information sharing will help us get started. Although the history of environmental information dates back several decades, the 60s is considered to be a landmark era with the United States of America introducing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Formulated in 1969, NEPA was one of the first legislations that aimed to address environmental information issues like the state of environment reporting and environmental

Enhanced availability of information will not only mitigate the dangers of rapid environmental chan nge but will also increase participation and empower stakeholders to take suitable action

GeospatialWorld I March 2011


Rainforests are being demolished at a shocking pace. National Academy of Science puts the loss at 50 million acres a year, which is an area equal to the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined.


Tropical deforestation around the world results in the extinction of 100 species every day.


Seven out of eight years since 2000 are ranked as the hottest on record.


According to estimates, 15-37 percent of the plant and animal species on the planet could be wiped out from global warming related causes by 2050.


As much as 400,000 square miles of Arctic ice has melted in the past 30 years. At the current rate, the Arctic ice sheet could disappear by 2015.


Over the past 100 years, the sea level has risen by 10-20 centimetres. If the polar ice sheets and glaciers melt, the world's oceans could swallow most of the low lying areas on the planet.


There has been a steady increase in the intensity and duration of tropical storms during the past few decades. Although, the number of storms has not increased much, but they are getting more powerful with the warming of ocean surface.


Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans are changing their chemistry and making them more acidic.

impact evaluations. Subsequently, initiatives like the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (1970), which was formed to advice the queen, government, parliament and the public on environmental issues, gave fillip to the cause of sustainability. The next major step in this direction was the formation of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972 with the basic aim to collect data and information about the environment. Since then, a number of high-level environmental events and conventions have brought forth the need for access to information, such as the Earth Summit in Rio (1992), Aarhus Convention (1998) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (2002). A major outcome of studies conducted during the last couple of decades suggests that the users are more interested in getting authentic information rather than raw data. Although there is plenty of environmental data available, most of it is old, patchy and inapt for use by


Information sharing mechanism

experts because of lack of credibility. While improved information and communication technology gives users access to a broad range of environmental information, there is a need to develop creative information exchange methodologies and policy frameworks to reach a wider audience.

INFORMATION SHARING MECHANISMS In the present age of information, geographic information is amongst the most crucial elements that support decision making for various disciplines, including environment. Thus, many of the objectives that environmental agencies around the world have can be achieved through the availability of good, standardised spatial data. However, a major constraint with spatial data is that it is expensive and time consuming to gather and maintain. While organisations around the world spend millions of dollars each year on data, there still remain plenty of limitations, both monetary and at the policy level, which cannot be overcome by relying on individual data management systems. In such a situation, it becomes imperative that different organisations on a local level, different states on a national level and different nations on a global level should reach agreements on the type of fundamental datasets required to fulfil their common interests, standards to which that data should be collected and maintained and framework for sharing data. Such a collection of data that is standardised to suit the requirements of various participating bodies is known as a spatial data infrastructure (SDI).


There are several networks around the world at the national, regional and global levels that are formed to facilitate the sharing of environmental information and thus help in the better management of biodiversity. Here are a few important initiatives: INSPIRE An excellent example of a regional level SDI aimed at sustainable development is the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community, which aims to establish a spatial data infrastructure based on SDIs of 27 Member States of the European Union. The INSPIRE Directive addresses 34 spatial data themes needed for environmental applications. Eionet (Environment Information and Observation Network) is a partnership network established by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its member countries. The network aims to provide timely and accurate information for assessing the state of the environment in Europe and the pressures acting upon it. This, in turn, enables policy-makers to decide on appropriate measures for protecting the environment at national and regional level and to monitor the effectiveness of policies implemented. GEO (Group on Earth Observations) was established in 2005 in response to calls for action by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the G8 countries, which recognised that international collaboration is vital to exploit the increasing potential of earth observations (EO) to support decision making in an environmentally stressed world. GEO is coordinating international efforts to build a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) by linking together existing and planned EO systems and supporting the development of new ones. EO is crucial for policymakers in many fields including environment. GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Securi-

Geospatial technology can present a situation visually on maps and helps to obtain crucial informattion that translates into the power of better decision making. This ability helps the Jason Hartke policy makerss to make informed Vice President decisions and thus ensure a National Policy, sustainable planet. US Green Building Council

GeospatialWorld I March 2012


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COLLECT SHARE AND DELIVER: A larger, full-colour screen means more function from the map screen and more direct access to the features you need to complete the job. And keep the data flowing with integrated Bluetooth®, WiFi and cellular modem. Trimble Access field software allows you to bring data from the internal GPS, compass and camera into your workflow. In a single step you can automatically add images as attribute information to any point you are measuring. Easier and more effective? Yes. More complicated? Not at all. The new Trimble TSC3 controller. It does amazingly complex things–all designed to make doing your job easier.

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Technology allows nations to come together and share information that can be laid on maps. It revea als the current situation and allows comparison with the past years. Gradually, this information beccomes available for recipients to look at their area and understand what is Jane Goodall going on. This is the wayy forward. British primatologist

ty) is the result of collaboration between the European Commission and European Space Agency, which aims to create an autonomous EO capacity. The objective of this proposed programme is to rationalise the use of different sources of data and get timely and accurate information in relation to environment and security. In simple terms, it will pull together all the information obtained by environmental satellites to provide a comprehensive picture of the planetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health. NNRMS (National Natural Resource Management System) is a national level inter-agency system that aims to fulfil the objective of natural resource management in India. NNRMS ensures full utilisation of the country's natural resources by providing a complete record of the available natural resources, using remote sensing data. UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) acts as the voice for environment within the United Nations. Established in 1972, UNEP acts as a medium, educator and facilitator to encourage the sensible use of the global environment. To achieve this, the agency works with other United Nations entities, international organisations, the private sector, nongovernmental organisations and civil society. One of the major functions of UNEP includes facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development. AEIN (Africa Environmental Information Network) is an initiative that aims to improve access to environmental information to support the supervision of Africa's natural wealth. The multi-stakeholder programme is designed to offer a broad outline for the effective collection of


information and knowledge of how environmental changes affect people. GIK (Geographic Information Knowledge Network) is another excellent example of an information network which aims at facilitating information exchange between professionals from the geographic information community.

GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY AND SUSTAINABILITY Geospatial technology enables us to better understand the relationship between human beings and the natural systems around us and further evaluate how external intervention affects such interaction. It is by harnessing the information found at different locations that sustainable development policies can be evolved. Human activities have resulted in considerable damaging impact on the environment. The first step in minimising the damage caused is to quantify these changes and geospatial technology with its ability to measure even the slightest of variations has been used extensively in this field. Geospatial technology also enables the assessment of impact of natural disasters on the environment. GIS can help compare pre and post event pictures, measure changes and thus help the decision makers in taking corrective actions. More than giving post event assessments, GIS can also help to predict the impact that a planned or unplanned event will have on an area. The evolution of geospatial tools offers us unique opportunities to engage society in tackling various environmental issues, managing scarce resources and better adapting to environmental changes. Enhanced availability of information will not only mitigate the dangers of rapid environmental change but will also increase participation and empower stakeholders to take suitable action. Dennis Garrity, Director General, World Agroforestry Centre explains how geospatial technology can help increase tree cover, "Geospatial technology can help us to map and interpret the tree cover that exists on African farmland, grazing lands and forest lands and subsequently monitor the changes over time as we work with

GeospatialWorld I March 2012

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Information enables responsible actionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Tell us something about Mission Blue and its importance. Mission Blue is an organisation that aims to bring organisations and people together to inspire protection, exploration, research and care for the ocean. The world's oceans are in trouble, which means that we are in trouble. In less than fifty years, we have seen a substantial decline of fish and coral reefs. Only about five percent of the ocean beneath the surface has been seen at all, leave alone explored or mapped. We need to understand the terrain under the sea. Nature has reached a point where we seriously need to consider what it takes to protect the atmosphere. Up until now, the ocean was protected by its vastness and inaccessibility. Most creatures in the sea were safe because we could not get to them; but now we can and we are depleting the life out of the ocean. How can geospatial technology help prrotect the marine environment from destruction? Geospatial technology enables us to act more responsibly than we otherwise could. This technology gives us the ability to imagine the way things were decades ago and to project what the future might be. It is

critically important in inspiring people to take seriously how we are impacting our life support system. With these new technologies you can show patterns, you can show before and after and you can show our relationship to nature. It is a technology which has come maybe just in time to save us. Geospatial technology relates to understanding and managing land and sea. Without such knowledge we are handicapped. The ability to view the nature of the world in layers and be able to pinpoint both in space and in time the changes that are taking place is critically important so that you can measure changes over time and thus get some idea about what the future will be. No generation before the present had the advantage of knowing. You can use that knowledge to engineer certain goals such as placing a dam in a river to maximum short term advantage or you can use that knowledge to not build a dam because of the interference it causes to natural water flow. Without the reference points that geospatial technology gives us, we could not understand how things are changing. How significant is information exchange in help ping to protect the environment?

people to increase tree cover in the world." Jane Goodall is also upbeat about the prospects of technology use in this field. "Technology allows different nations to come together and share information that can be laid on maps. It reveals the current situation and allows comparison with the past. This information is shared and becomes available for recipients to click on it and look at their area and thus understand what is going on. This is the way forward," she says. "Thanks to geospatial technology, we now have information that makes us powerful, it gives us the ability to make more informed decisions and decision making abil-

GeospatialWorld I March 2011

Latest technology and information about our planet enables us to hold the world in our hands and see how things relate back to us. The exchange of information has created enough awareness that the world is in trouble, the ocean is in trouble and so we are in trouble. Our primary goal should be to chalk out ways to leave the world at least as good as we found it and to behave in a way that we do not destroy the capacity of the planet to support the next generations. Do you think all the damage that has been inflicted upon the envirronment can be reversed? We cannot reverse the damage but we can make things better than they otherwise would be. For example, if we took apart the Three Gorges Dam today and let the river flow as it is meant to flow, it would be better than keeping that dam in place because it is causing tremendous damage to the natural world. We can change course but we cannot reverse and go back. By planting and protecting trees, we can make sure that the wild things will return as best as they can. Nature heals and we can do our bit to accelerate that process.

What more can the geospatial community do to promote the cause of environment protection?

More attention needs to be paid to the ocean. The need is to look at the ocean not just from the surface but also at the layers and make all the information available to the world. Technology can help decision makers understand how their lives connect to the ocean and how the ocean connects back to us. There are hundreds of questions that need answers like where are all the mangroves of the world. Challenges for the geospatial community include figuring out ways to map the existence of the coastal vegetation that is lower than where aerial observations work or how to incorporate data gathered from various scientific expeditions and connect the dots about the masses of frozen methane that are on the sea floor and with global warming could release huge amounts of methane into the atmosphere thus greatly accelerating global warming. Sylvia Earle American oceanographer, former chief scientist of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

ity is what all of this data provides to us," says Rick Fedrizzi, President and CEO, US Green Building Council.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION AND CROWDSOURCING The augmented emphasis on environmental issues by the media has led to a substantial increase in citizens' interest in trying to safeguard the environment. Internet and social networking offer an ideal opportunity to create awareness and public participation by highlighting local issues on a global platform. The ability of the internet to channelize information to a global audience and visually


Web-portals like Beatona encourage public participation in matters that relate to the environment

present a situation leaves a lasting impact on the viewer. Crowd sourced data has seen a considerable increase in the past few years because of the substantially lower costs involved and more importantly because of the power of the crowd to gather data from the most isolated places. Projects like the OpenStreetMap and Google Earth use crowd sourced data extensively. Governments too have realised the power of crowd sourced environmental data and are making sincere efforts to tap the same. Portals like eMISK, which allow users the option to highlight environmental issues in their region by tagging it on a satellite image, have done appreciable work in this area. Principal 10 of the Rio Earth Summit declaration states that environmental issues are best handled with participation of all concerned citizens and that states shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available.

HURDLES AND WAY FORWARD The challenge of collection, processing and dissemination of information arises at the local, national and international levels as well as across various disciplines and geographic areas. Improving public awareness by providing accurate and timely information can play an important role by enhancing participation and action. A glaring gap in the


information structure is the developing countries' insufficient capacity to collect and manage data and this gap is often the result of inadequate representation of these countries at global level initiatives. Most experts believe that the technology to create data and access existing data is already there and that the biggest hurdle is a lack of vision and political will. Access to environmental information is the cornerstone for good environmental governance. Information enables proper planning and decision making just as it enables the citizens to participate freely in day-to-day affairs and thus pave way for quality environmental management. On the other hand, restrictions on access to information can lead to mismanagement of resources. Governments around the world are realising the importance of giving access to information to their citizens and laws are being enacted to enable the same. However, most countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia are still not open to the idea of free access to information. Traditionally, environmental information systems have been accused of being limited in their use and can benefit greatly from incorporating functions like surveillance and early warning. With biodiversity coming under increasing pressure from human activities, unexpected changes are beginning to surprise the decision makers more often. Problems like deforestation, soil erosion, illegal hunting etc can be dealt with effectively through constant surveillance. The need of the hour is to educate the policy makers about the utility of such systems. Studies conducted over the past few years have established the fact that a good information system does not only run on the basis of software and hardware but also requires exhaustive human inputs and it is thus extremely important to build capacity in the field. Human intervention can make a system effective by maintaining direct relationship with the users, staying updated with latest advancements, summarising and analysing information, publishing data on the web etc. Vaibhav Arora, Assistant Editor,

GeospatialWorld I March 2012


26 - 30 March

05 - 07 March

Geotunis 2012

6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference

Valencia, Spain

12 - 15 March GIS/CAMA Technologies Conference

San Antonio, US

14 - 17 March 6th Latin American Geographic Colloqium

Tunis, Tunisia

29 March Geospatial Convergence for GIS Professionals

London, UK

29 March Spirgarten-Treffen'12 - Open Governement Data und Geoinformation

Zurich, Switzerland pirgarten.php?language=d

Paraná, Argentina

16 March GI Zeitgeist 2012

Münster, Germany

APRIL 02 - 04 April GISWORX 2012

Dubai, UAE

19 - 23 March

Where Conference 2012

ASPRS 2012 Annual Conference

San Francisco, CA

20-22 March FOSS GIS

03 - 04 April Middle East Geospatial Forum 2012

20-22 March FOSS GIS

Dessau, Germany

22 - 27 April

15-18 April SPAR International Conference on End-to End 3D: Capture, Process, Deliver

Texas, US nternational

17 April

22 - 23 May Location Intelligence Conference/Oracle Spatial 2012

European Geosciences Union General Assembly

Washington DC, US

Vienna, Austria

29 - 31 May

MundoGEO Connect 2012

23 - 27 April Geospatial World Forum 2012

Amsterdam he Netherlands

Sao Paulo, Brazil

JUNE 04 - 07 June Hexagon 2012

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

29 April - 01 May 7th National GIS Symposium

June 05 - 06

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

South Africa Geospatial Forum

Johannesburg, South Africa

30 April Esri Petroleum GIS Conference oleum-energy/index.html

MAY 01 - 03 May

17-23 June 12th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference

Varna city, Bulgaria

Esri Forestry GIS Conference

21 - 23 June

Redlands, US

Geospatial EXPO 2012


Doha, State of Qatar

Dessau, Germany Dessau, Germany

Houston, Texas, US

02 - 04 April

Sacramento, US

Porto, Portugal

14 - 17 May index.html

Global Geospatial Conference 2012 (GSDI 13)


Quebec, Canada

GI_Forum 2012 di13

03 - 06 July Salzburg, Austria

15-16 May

21-24 July

NYS GIS Conference

New York, US

Esri Homeland Security Summit

San Diego, US

26-28 March

GIS Tech 2012

AWRA Spring Specialty Conference on GIS and Water Resources VII

15 - 17 May

18-21 April

Be Together: The Bentley User Conference

23 - 27 July

Philadelphia, USA

Sandiego, C.A, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, US pring2012/

Geospatial World I March 2012

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

1st International Conference on Smart Grids and Green IT Systems

ESRI User Conference -conference/index.html



From e-gov to g-gov the process of sustainable development. "The most important aspect is how can geospatial technology help mitigate the effect of disasters," he said. Observing that India is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world owing to various hydrometeorological and geopolitical factors, B B Bhattacharya, Member, National Disaster Management Authority, said that while natural hazards cannot be averted, their effects can be mitigated and this is where disaster risk management programmes have a very significant role to play. The most important tool in disaster resilience according to him is digital cartographic base of the country at right scale and contour.


ndia Geospatial Forum 2012 (formerly called Map India) was held during February 7-9, 2012 at Gurgaon, Haryana. The Forum turned out to be extremely successful with 1200 people participating in the event. Delegates from nearly all parts of India, both from industry and government, participated in the 3-day event. Discussions were held over a number of issues ranging from data policies to the future of the geospatial industry in the country. This was the first time that besides the main session, two parallel conferences on infrastructure (Geo-Infra) and governance (Geo-Gov) were held at the Forum. Some of the major topics debated during the event are:

G-tech in India Geospatial technology is fast becoming an engine of growth for businesses and is poised to become a formidable driving force in the global as well as Indian economy. Today, the Indian government is trying to bring e-governance and geoGovernance together.


Talking of the rapid pace at which development is happening in the country, Dr Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, said that the country's rapid progress demanded robust information and decision support systems to aid the planning and implementation of various developmental programmes. "GIS will be the mainstay around which such information and decision support systems can be built," he said. Saumitra Chaudhuri, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, called for increased use of geospatial technology. "GIS can help us in achieving better and productive living for our people. There is a lot of opportunity to use these technologies in different fields and make sure that better results are achieved."

GIS in mining sector Alok Perthi, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Government of India, gave a comprehensive overview of the mining sector in the country and explained how geospatial technology can be effectively used to evolve new ways of exploration and thus increase production. He said that although the country has increased its drilling capacity significantly over the past few years, it was not enough and there is need to use modern techniques to ensure mining in a sustainable manner. "Geospatial technology has a very important role to play in this area as it can be used to locate minerals below the surface of the earth." He also said that

Disaster management Anil Kumar Sinha, Vice Chair, Bihar State Disaster Management Authority, Government of Bihar said that any major disaster that strikes a country lends a significant blow to the GDP and thus it affects

Geospatial World I March 2012

geospatial technology can play a major role in all the three aspects of the industry - exploration, mining and closure.

Land administration Land titling in India is a challenge of enormous proportions owing to the mammoth area that needs to be covered and the size of population, indicated John Whitehead, APAC Manager, Emerging Markets and Funded Projects, Trimble, Singapore as he brought to light the most serious challenge facing effective land administration in India. Experts debated about the current state of land administration in India, the urgent need to modernise and computerise land records and how geospatial technology can be used to ensure more effective land tenure systems. The National Land Records Modernisation Programme (NLRMP) remained a major point of deliberation during the event with several speakers citing it as an example of notable work done in the field of land management in India. Talking about the programme, Prabhu Dayal Meena, Additional Secretary, Department of Land Resources, said that there was a rapid progress in the direction with some states having stopped the use of manual recording altogether.

Chakraborty, Country Head - India & SAARC, Intergraph SG&I India remarked that smart governance is about people, processes and technology. One big challenge according to him in the pervasiveness of GeoICT is the collaboration between various agencies. To enhance the pervasiveness of GeoICT, he suggested having integrated and consistent data sets rather than discrete datasets, empowering NSDI and state SDI, and use of more open standards.

Geo-ICT in agriculture Agriculture today has remote sensing data, statistics, maps, different survey reports, web, internet, various agencies producing data related to agriculture, state reports, district reports, mobile phones - all of which were not there or hardly there at the time of Green Revolution, observed Dr Prithvish Nag, Vice Chancellor, MG Kashi Vidyapeeth, India. Such an evolution requires higher skills in agricultural management, and this is where GeoICT has a role to play. He further added that this role is at two levels production level (providing information on what and how much to produce) and at policy level.

"GIS is not for the sake of technology, hardware, software or even applications. GIS is meant for common man on street. The benefits of the technology should reach the last mile otherwise it is not of much use," said Anoop Singh, Special Secretary to Government, Information Technology and Communications Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Dr Vinod Bothale, Director, Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre, remarked that there is very less land available for agriculture in India, while the demand for yield is increasing with growing population. He said that farmers who understand market trends and market opportunities have a better chance of succeeding than those who don't. All of this requires lot of information. This is where geospatial information and technology has a role to play.

Talking about smart governance, Kaushik

Geo-ICT in municipality


PS Uttarwar, Director (Planning), Dwarka Project, Delhi Development Authority, elaborated on the benefits of municipal GIS in managing municipal tasks such as property tax, birth and death registration, socio economic data management and holding registration, adding that it links the corresponding database with the geospatial view of the current municipal area.

Geospatial World I March 2012


G-tech for health services Geo ICT can efficiently be used for disease surveillance, identification of high risk areas for prompt treatment; analysing spatio temporal disease trends and predicting future scenario for prompt control; marketing pharmaceuticals; conducting market studies and document health care needs of a community; and so on, observed Aruna Srivastava and B.N. Nagpal of National Institute of Malaria research. Sharing her vision on the future of GIS in health services, Dr Madhulekha Bhattacharya, Professor and Head, Dept of Community Health, Acting Director, National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, said the need of the hour is to have a GIS hub at the district level with multi-sectoral data sets for analysing and presenting the data to the district and health administrators for use and support functions.

Geo-ICT in forestry AK Wahal, Director General, Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, informed audience about the establishment of National Forestry Information System in the country that aims to be a decision support system for the planning processes in environment and forestry. The system envisages creation of a node at Forest Survey of India (FSI) that would have all layers of information related to forests in the country. Some nodes would also be at state forestry headquarters, and all the nodes will be linked. The system is set to become operational from the next financial year.

India, introduced audience to the importance and challenges of infrastructure in today's environment. "The growing demands of infrastructure have to be met in a sustainable way without destroying environment, economy and society," he said. He also advocated customisation of technologies in India, "What's good in the west, may not be good here. We need to develop technologies and solutions accordingly," he said.

Geotech in Indian transport system Transportation plays a major role in any economy's development. An effective and efficient transport system is therefore essential for the growth of a country. However, developing countries pose several challenges for the transport sector. Speaking about these challenges, Dr R S Moorthy, Head (Projects), Urban Mass Transit Company, India, said, "In developing countries, availability of data is a major bottleneck," adding, "We require a properly developed user-friendly information system." Atul Kumar, Chief General Manager (P&IS), NHAI, India, talked about national highways in India and the importance of imagery in carrying out road-related projects. "High resolution satellite imagery can be used for determining the exact status of projects, evaluating the

progress of work, etc. GIS and satellite technology can be used for building design of highways, road asset management, planning of projects etc.," he said. Dr P K Sikdar, President, ICT Online, India, spoke about the benefits of geotech in highways. "GIS can be used throughout the lifecycle of a project. It can be used for transportation planning, construction management, transportation safety analysis, environment management and so on," he said.

Dimensions and directions of geospatial technology In the financial year 2010-11, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), India, surpassed its sales target. In the near future, the Centre is set to launch two polar satellites RISAT-1 and SARAL and two geostationary satellites INSAT-3D, GISAT. Amongst these four satellites, GISAT will be launched in 2013. However, the remaining three satellites will be launched in 2012, according to Dr. V K Dadhwal, Director, NRSC, India. Offering industry perspective, Rajesh Mathur, Vice Chairman, Esri India, highlighted a market report by Gartner which rated cloud as the technology highly appreciated by the industry. Elaborating

Geo-Infra Intelligent infrastructure Rajan Aiyer, Managing Director, Trimble,


Geospatial World I March 2012

on the untapped potential of cloud, he stressed that the market for cloud will touch USD 118 billion by 2014 and will reach USD 241 billion by 2020, according to Forrester. Prof Josef Strobl, Director, University of Salzburg, Austria, touched upon various futuristic technology trends and observed that if sensor is data source, cloud is facilitator for real-time geography.

3D modelling, WebGIS and Open Source Experts discussed and explored current status and potential of 3D modelling, WebGIS and Open Source. While Francois Valois, Sr. Product Manager - Geospatial, Bentley Systems, talked about how Bentley Systems is building futuristic infrastructure using 3D modelling, Dr Hanuman Prasad, Asst General Manager, Infotech Enterprise, India, explained the role of 3D modelling in mining industry. He explained how a 3D model of mines can aid decision making, reduce cost, lower maintenance cost and overcome complexities involved in categorisation of technical data. Wide accessibility, no need of GIS software, enabling users to directly manipulate maps and GIS data over the Web are some of the key features which make WebGIS popular amongst users, observed scientist Kapil Oberai from Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS). Public cloud based GIS providers offer capabilities to add local data, change symbology and build a query and analysis system. Visual programming based wiring or piping techniques help building a client-side mashup quickly." Talking about distributed GIS, Murli

Geospatial World I March 2012

Krishna Gurram, Asst Vice President, COWI India, said, "Distributed GIS services enable the end user to manipulate GIS data and maps interactively. The map services can directly interact with heterogeneous systems and platforms without the constraints of traditional client/server relationships."

Conclusion The India Geospatial Forum concluded on a positive note with Arun Goel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, urging the Planning Commission to

make GIS compulsory for every city development plan (CDP). He informed that the ministry is looking at geo-data on a very big level in the 12th Five Year Plan. Welcoming Goel's comments, Dr Manoj Singh, Advisor (transport), Planning Commission, India, said that the idea will be put forth in Planning Commission's meeting. He also said that there is lack of good decision support systems in the Planning Commission and that technology can help the decision makers take more informed decisions.

India Geospatial Awards - Winners 2012 India Geospatial Leadership awards The Premier Geospatial State

State of Madhya Pradesh

Geospatial Project of the Year

Integrated coastal zone management

Most popular geospatial data portal


Young geospatial entrepreneur

Mr Sudhakar Reddy Arumalla

Capacity building and professional development

Dr PS Roy for capacity and professional development in geospatial sciences

Corporate leadership

Dr BVR Mohan Reddy

Lifetime achievement

Sri Rajesh C Mathur

Category (Geospatial Excellence) Winner Agriculture

Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Disaster Management

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and Department of Information & Technology; Government of India

Land Administration

Excise and Prohibition Department, Govt of Bihar



Urban Planning

MRSAC, Nagpur, Maharashtra


NIC, Tamil Nadu State

Natural Resource management

Watershed Organisation Trust, India



Infrastructure & engineering

Reliance Infrastructure Ltd

Rachapudi Kamakshi Memorial Gold Medal for Young Geospatial Scientist

Dr. MB Rajani, Assistant Professor, NIIT University, India; Mr Uttam Kumar, PhD student, Faculty of Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science


Shocking crack! Depleting glacier was a common phenomenon for NASA scientists working in Antarctica, but in midOctober 2011, they were shocked to discover a massive crack across the Pine Island Glacier. It was like a scene straight out of a science-fiction disaster movie. The crack (featured in the image as base layer) was captured by Terra satellite on November 13, 2011. Recently, using data gathered by NASA's Operation IceBridge science flight team, the agency generated a 3D fly through of the crack (featured as a top layer on the image). The crack extends for 19 miles (30 kilometres), is 260 feet (80 metres) wide and 195 feet (60 metres) deep. They claim that eventually, it will extend all the way across the glacier and calve a giant iceberg that will cover about 350 square miles (900 square kilometres). Pine Island is one of the largest and fastest moving glaciers in Antarctica and the crack has made climate scientists concerned. Courtesy: NASA


GeospatialWorld I March 2012

Data courtesy City of Quebec

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ADVANCING GIS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE © 2011 Bentley Systems, Incorporated. Bentley, the “B” Bentley logo, Bentley Map, and MicroStation are either registered or unregistered trademarks or service marks of Bentley Systems, Incorporated or one of its direct or indirect wholly owned subsidiaries. Other brands and product names are trademarks of their respective owners.



March 2012 : SMEs  

SMEs: Key to geospatial value chain

March 2012 : SMEs  

SMEs: Key to geospatial value chain