GEOG 858
Spatial Data Science for Emergency Management

Emerging Theme: Introduction


Emerging Theme: Introduction

OK, you might think, "Well - isn't GIS already something most people consider high tech?" The answer to that question is a little complicated. In comparison to where we were about 20 years ago, yes, current GIS systems are pretty high tech. In comparison to recent advances in software, interfaces, and the ways in which regular people can participate in the development of data and tools - no, off-the-shelf desktop GIS software isn't so radical anymore.

What I hope to do in this course is to bring in new trends and themes in technology and imagine how those advances can and will impact spatial data science in the future, with particular emphasis on how those technologies fit or could be adapted to support geospatial analysis for emergency management.

Emerging Themes

Each lesson features an Emerging Theme page that presents a technology and encourages you to envision its potential impact on GIS systems for Emergency Management. I draw upon video lectures, links to live demonstrations, and other multimedia as much as possible to make these modules as engaging as possible.

The themes we will cover this term are:

  1. New Methods of Geospatial Interaction
  2. GIS and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) - includes an exercise working with UAS data
  3. Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) - includes an exercise
  4. Spatial Data Science - Data and analytics  
  5. Real-time GIS and Analytics - includes an exercise working with operations dashboards
  6. Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chains 
  7. Social Media and Crisis Mapping 
  8. Geospatial Artificial Intelligence (geoAI)
  9. Digital Twin
  10. Work on Term Project 

The following 4:30 minute video, Geospatial - A Golden Thread in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is from the geospatial industry website, Geospatial World. It is a bit sensationalized but does cram in a lot of interesting content about technology and geospatial and provides some viewpoints from industry leaders. I hope it makes you want to learn more about these emerging themes! 

Geospatial - A golden thread in the Fourth Industrial revolution
Click for a transcript of the Fourth Industrial Revolution video.

A golden thread in the Fourth Industrial revolution

KUMAR NAVULUR: The key word is revolution, how a common person's life is changed with these technologies. So the first one is steam. The next one is electricity. The third one are computers.


ANNE HALE MIGLARSE: It's about machine learning. It's about the internet of things. It's about the world awash in data. Certainly, data is a big part of what will drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

KUMAR NAVULUR: It's the disappearance of technology in good ways that is becoming ubiquitous. So the technology is hidden, but it's still there. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is all about new technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics, connectivity of societies. When you have all the globe connected with internet, that kind of connectivity was never seen before.

SANDEEP SINGHAL: The Fourth Industrial Revolution. And I really regard it as the marriage of data, analytics, and real time presentation.

WILLY GOVENDER: How we as consumers of data are producing loads of data, more data every day than we have collected in a couple of decades we are producing nowadays. And it's how we are going to handle this data.

SANDEEP SINGHAL: Applying deep analytics, big data analysis, and machine learning to infuse that data together and really draw conclusions, and then present that information very, very quickly in order to drive changes in how we manufacture, changes in how we schedule resources, and so on.

ROBERT LAUDATI: And now you see that revolution made possible by the increase in sensors, In the increase in the analytical tools that many of the industry has. It's really about moving from data to answers.

NIGEL CLIFFORD: The revolutions that are going on in terms of affordable, massive technological shifts, geospatial is one really significant golden thread that's going to enable all users to find sense in some of the huge changes that are going on.

KUMAR NAVULUR: If we talk about augmented reality, yes, geospatial plays a role in terms of creating that virtual environment. If we talk about machine learning, robotics, geospatial definitely has a role.

WILLY GOVENDER: Just the proliferation of fake news-- we'll probably see fake data also appearing and making our lives more difficult. And that's where you're going to find that we need this geospatial industry to make the world better understand the data that we're producing, acknowledging the data, and verifying it so that we make the critical decisions.

ROBERT LAUDATI: All of us in the industry, from the data, the sensor developers and providers to the software providers, we see that wave coming of really the democratization of GIS and geospatial technology. Everyone will be using it in some form or fashion. But they won't have to be experts in the field to be able to process the information. 

ANNE HALE MIGLARSE: We absolutely have a place to play in it. And our expertise in analyzing place is what brings us to the table. And so I think we should embrace fully participating in it.

KUMAR NAVULUR: So geotechnology, the location technology, is foundational to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And I'm glad that our industry is a critical part of that.

On the next page, you'll find your first Emerging Theme assignment. In this assignment, we will examine new types of mobile interfaces and discuss how they could be integrated into future GIS systems for emergency management.