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OmniSci 2022 Predictions: What to Expect from Geospatial Analytics in 2022

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

What to Expect from Geospatial Analytics in 2022

By Antonio Cotroneo, Director of Technical Content Strategy

Global problems require global perspectives-and COVID-19 has been a global problem, the likes of which we haven't seen in decades. The critical nature of the pandemic has emphasized and accelerated interest in geospatial analytics to unprecedented levels moving forward.

Over the past 18+ months, technology advancements have flooded the geospatial realm. These innovations have and will continue to profoundly impact public health, government agencies, defense/intelligence, business activity, and, inevitably, daily life in 2022 and beyond. In particular, we anticipate three developments to affect geospatial analytics. Practitioners, decision-makers, and even the average citizen should take note:

Landsat 9 will take earth observation to a new level of utility. Since 1972, a progression of Landsat satellites has been imaging the Earth's surface with increasing levels of accuracy and sophistication. Landsat 9, equipped with even more advanced sensors, cameras, and capture devices, will open new opportunities, particularly in the practice of digital twinning.

Twinning makes possible the creation of virtual duplicates that mirror the three-dimensional configuration, physical properties, and environmental conditions surrounding a real-world object or place. The breakthrough allows researchers and analysts to examine factors that emanate from or may influence that twin's real-world counterpart.

Combined with other earth observation satellites, LiDAR data, drones, and ground-based sources, Landsat 9 will not only support digital twinning but also capture more accurate representations of our environment from the natural and built perspectives. It will be invaluable for complex challenges like forest fire management; moreover, virtually all the data is open for public use, making the highly granular information beneficial for all kinds of applications.

The collection of human movement data will accelerate. Movement tracking has been developing for some time, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed this discipline forward into the world of analytics like never before. 2022 will be a watershed in its use.

Human movement data comes primarily from cellular phones-but vehicles, watches, and anything else that moves along with people will be in the mix. While tracking and tracing anonymous movement in the aggregate reveals patterns useful for infection analysis, the practice is highly prized for marketing, public safety, academic research, and many other pursuits.

Unprecedented in human history, movement tracking is becoming ubiquitous. Anyone who has ever granted permission for their phone to collect location information is participating. Human movement data is being used by analysts for natural disaster response, population migration research, roadway and traffic management, and much more. Yet all these legitimate and beneficial uses require balance, which leads to the last major trend of 2022:

The data privacy debate will intensify. The abundance and increasing rate of data collection are spawning essential conversations about personal privacy. These are fundamental issues that have no easy answers - yet will expand in urgency in 2022.

There's no question that when analyzed correctly and with respect and regard for individual rights, movement data can be a positive at both the personal and societal levels. It's important to acknowledge, however, the breathtaking volume of data that is being collected. Every device we carry or own is now generating data in some way, and it's being captured somewhere by someone. 5G cellular technology will only make transmission of this information faster and easier, and as AI ramps up, many data-based decisions will be made automatically by machine.

Researchers are making great use of these technologies, but the potential for nefarious activity is there. Regulators, device OEMs, and governments will have their hands full, preventing such misuse.

The public needs to develop "data literacy" to mitigate unethical practices. Fortunately, literacy is growing as the average person is made aware of data practices and as more tools are made available that allow individuals to access and interrogate their data. This will help further the debate and keep the public in the loop.

As a society-and at a global scale-we are on the precipice of an explosion of valuable geospatial data. We already have a large amount, and we haven't even scratched the surface of what's coming. As we enter 2022, it will be the responsibility of everyone to ensure that it is used well.



Antonio Cotroneo 

ANTONIO COTRONEO is Director of Technical Content Strategy for OmniSci, a leading data analytics solutions provider.

Published Friday, October 22, 2021 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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