The Government is investigating the potential of matching geospatial data with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle issues from transport in cities to smart energy strategies.
A new report, funded by the Geospatial Commission and government and technology venture firm Public, builds on wider Cabinet Office plans for cross-government digital transformation and looks into commercial opportunities around mapping data.
According to the report, location data can be used with advanced technologies in areas ranging from tackling crime hotspots, to finding the quickest routes for emergency services, to deciding where best to locate warehouses.
Public chief executive Dan Korski said: “Geospatial data and technology has the capability to drastically improve public services. [But] the Government is only at the beginning of its journey in exploiting these new technologies for the benefit of citizens and service providers alike."
The report notes that AI could be one of the primary areas of growth in the UK geospatial sector over the coming years. It cites the issue of land management, where start-up Urban Intelligence built an AI system which aims to provide a credit score for plots of land, based on their suitability for development.
Application of geospatial data in combination with AI in logistics is another example highlighted, where start-up Geocollect provides geospatial imagery analysis and overlays this information with other location data feeds to create real-time assessments on safety, security and risk for the maritime trade sector.
As well as AI, the report analysed the maturity in the UK of technologies across seven other areas: cameras, imaging and sensing; unmanned vehicle systems and drones; survey, measurement and scanning; smart sensors and Internet of things; simulation; connectivity and immersive technologies.
Created in 2017 with an £80m, two-year budget, the Geospatial Commission recently revealed it was testing the feasibility of creating a digital map of underground pipes and cables for a nationwide scheme which would enable utilities to more efficiently access, use and share data on what is currently the hidden infrastructure.
Two pilot projects – in London and the North East – could lead to the creation of the Underground Assets Register within four years.