Geospatial services

How remote sensing integrates into Geographic Information System

In a nutshell, GIS or Geographic Information System is a computing system that is used to collect, store, manage, analyse and study and display different sets of geographical data for a wide range of applications. There are a wide range of applications that help the users of the data thus collected to carry out a variety of tasks such as spatial query and analyses, spatial data editing and creating accurate hard copy of maps.

The major component of GIS is remote sensing which makes the entire collection of data possible. Remote sensing is the process or the act of collection various sets of information about the surface of the earth without ever making any physical contacts with the same.

Remote sensing heavily relies on sensing and capturing reflected energy trails off the earth. This energy beams are then analyzed to understand the presence of various geographical areas and locations.
It largely relies on the reaction that happens between the radiation that comes in and the object of interest whose reflected data is getting collected by analysing the emitted radiations.

Following are the components that primarily work in the remote sensing process.

  • The source of the energy
  • The atmosphere and the radiation
  • The interaction of the radiation with the target and collection of the energy reflected
  • Transmission of the energy sensed and processing of the same at the lab
  • Interpretation of the energy, analyses and the application of the same

It is remote sensing and various techniques used to collect geographical information that lays the ground work for any Geographic Information System to begin its work. Only if the process of remote sensing works properly can a GIS can deliver the results intended of the same. However, with the advent of better remote sensing and data analytical and interpretation tools, the quality of the results offered by Geographic Information System will only go higher.

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4 Ways to Utilize Geospatial Intelligence

Even when everyone makes use of geospatial intelligence, anyone hardly knows about it. In a nutshell, it is the information that enables to identify a person’s location with GPS. Using such information, a range of benefits can be drawn at personal, national and international levels. Getting the information about the shortest distance to your destination or driving through a new city is just only the beginning. As such, we bring to you the 4 most important ways to use Geospatial Intelligence.

In National Security

At a time where national security has become increasingly strenuous, Geospatial Intelligence or GEOINT can be used to track people by effectively analyzing various data sources and using cluster recognition patterns. Through various techniques such as geo-tagged tweets, drone surveillance, GPS tracked phones etc., many people’s location can be understood and necessary actions can be taken.

In Cyber Security

With the help of Geospatial Intelligence, physical locations of cyber criminals and hackers can be easily found. As such, they can be easily found and made available for prosecution. It also enables for more efficient mappable security layers such as the devices and logical and physical networks used etc.

Resource Management

Another important application of Geospatial Intelligence is to utilize the same to identify and manage natural resources throughout the planet. The locations of resources can be easily identified and information about the optimum use of these resources to reduce the impact can also be delivered.

Crisis Response and Management

In case of any crisis, disasters or natural calamity, government help and aids can be made easily available to people with the help of Geospatial Intelligence. Various mapping technology can be used to ascertain the damage and the presence of people to ensure the required support of crisis management response teams.

While these are the large-scale uses of Geospatial Intelligence, there is no doubt that various other uses of the same at diverse levels with a plethora of applications and possibilities will soon arrive.

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Is GIS a Reliable Option for Processing Insurance Claims?

Losing health, property and above all, life, is a serious affair and filing insurance claims further has turned out to be tiresome and time-consuming process. As time plays a key role, in getting the claims verified and money disbursed, every brand tries to retain and grow its customer base, by providing a swift and proficient service, but every time what delays the process is the mutual eye on profit, which sometimes need to be underwritten, and thus is vital for every insurance provider to make sure the claims processing is effective and efficient. With the technology improvements playing disruptor in every industry, it is high time for the insurance companies to automate the claims processing and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) can be one of the most reliable options, which leverages the visualization, data management and analysis to the core, empowering the claim adjusters to serve better.

The riskiest of the claims is property related damages and this needs to be handled with precise data as it has the capacity to turn a insurance company bankrupt. Visually and manually probing large datasets is not only time consuming but is exasperating and cannot be accurate. Change detection via 2D & 3D imagery and DSM (Digital Surface Model) datasets has not only been popular but is one of those GIS services on which the insurance companies rely upon these days. The 2D change detection process constitutes analysis of textural, spectral and linear feature changes in orthoimage data sets mapped at different intervals, helping the user to locate the areas of change with utmost precision and accuracy. On the other hand, the 3D change detection relies on DSM which helps in identifying the areas of changes especially in the vertical plane and is highly applicable in
the field of agricultural properties.

Geo-enabling the insurance business data is crucial and is the need of the hour as it relies on intuitive mapping and various analytical tools helps the user to access the hazardous location on a global base, associate the loss severity with topography and access historic data counting customer information and risk. The remote sensing technique, which relies on sensors placed on satellites helps in capturing geographical images, enables manipulation, visualization and analysis, and is extensively being applied in the banking and insurance sectors. Damage detection, both to the property or the crop can be accessed instantly and precautions can be made possible at the earliest hours. With the help of the images sent by the satellite, the insurance companies can keep their customers posted about the changes in the property and also about the crops, when it becomes
applicable in the field of agriculture. The customers on the other hand can take intuitive measures based on the alerts and can avoid a mutually chancy stance.

Faster and accurate processing of the insurance claims using GIS technology results in satisfied customers and protects insurance companies from false claims resulting in a win-win situation for all parties concerned. SBL has been working with insurance companies and their associated companies in processing geographical data to assess and verify claims against property and crop damage for more than 5 years now. Our USP is fast turnaround and accurate mapping and analysis which results in huge savings and transparent operations for the insurance companies.

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How GIS Assist in Securing Wildlife Habitats

GIS (Geographic Information System) has altered even the way the human brains function and its application in securing the wildlife or national parks is obligatory. Many at times we might have wondered watching the Discovery and Animal Planet, as in how eminently some people or organizations have conserved the habitats of the wild. Visiting a national park, many might have witnessed animals with tracking collars. Technology has been advanced to a sophisticated state, where today we can even deter animals from crossing their allowed proximity using geofencing.

  • Geofencing is one among the many features of GIS, where we set a virtual boundary to preserve the wildlife by preventing unprincipled encroachments both from animals as well as humans. The geofence operator will be alerted on his device, preferably a mobile phone.
  • Close-up photos and videos of deadly animals have always left us with awe, and we might have wondered the daringness of the wildlife photographer, but today the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or popularly called drones do the job with utmost precision. Beyond helping in preventing poaching, it also helps in protecting the endangered flora and fauna and thus curtails the rate of illegal trafficking, fishing, hunting and burning. Drone mapping is one of the most reliable sources for the scientists to closely examine the animals and estimate their population growth.
  • The animal surveys using GIS is often associated with drones, which tackled the limitations of conventional aerial surveys, which was done based on a sample strip and those animals who fall outside the strip were never counted. Though difficult to perform in rugged regions, the bundle block adjustments in IFP (image footprint projection) resulted in accurate counts.
  • The animal identification and traceability methods have helped in the keen analysis of a particular breed and confirm its parentage based on certain characteristics and conclude the behavioral patterns evolved out of the data thus collected.
  • Location and species mapping via the surveillance cameras, yet another prominent feature of GIS, has turned out to be one of the most effective and efficient tools for inspecting wildlife behavior, and to authenticate species presence and its distribution. This method is rather more economical and effective when compared to employing human observers.
  • The natural resource mapping may involve measuring monitoring and analyzing natural resources by collecting true multispectral digital aerial imagery which assists in maintaining a digital database used in further studies, of how the wildlife is amalgamated with the respective resources and vise-versa. It will be documented which will act as an action plan to maintain the bio-diversity in the national parks, securing their ecosystem and habitats and also allowing new species to emerge and survive.
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5 key roles of Location Based Services in Smart Cities

Everybody owns smartphones nowadays and many services are just a tap away. These phones make use of GPS so as to encode the data that we use with our location information. This can prove very useful because such information can be utilized to send notifications to the relevant people and also to offer them access to both services and goods within a particular area.

Location Based Services have become a boon to all smart cities because this is going to play a key role in the following ways:

  • Controlling Fraud: Smart cities will put up a fight against the social problem of fraud. Now, even bank and credit card companies can utilize location data to verify transactions. Tracking one’s location helps detect fraudulent activities.
  • An Easier Travel: With one’s location picked up by the GPS, they can navigate easily through roads and traffic. This helps save time and avoid unnecessary delays during travel and also cuts the travel time to a big extent. When booking a taxi, GPS helps in letting the driver know your exact location and this facilitates the entire process.
  • Giving an Update for Services: Today, there is an option for “check in” when one visit any place, be it restaurants, malls, parks or any other public areas. When looking for a place to go to, this location shows up and makes the users know not only about that building’s address but also of its proximity to their area of residence. This makes it easier for them to pick a place of service.
  • Energy Consumption: When the location of citizens is monitored, cities will be able to grasp the knowledge about its people’s locations and will be able to understand when to fluctuate power availability over the course of a day.
  • Improving the overall quality of life: New concepts and ideas are being created to make the Smart cities safer and more comfortable. New retail experiences are being developed, local commerce is being stimulated; it is as if everything is becoming personalized for every single citizen.

Smart cities are rapidly welcoming all the new technological developments. It has been accepted that WiFi location based services are going to help evolve and enhance city experiences for both citizens and visitors.

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How GIS Integrates Into IOT ?

IOT can have a profound impact on the lives when integrated with GIS and this is definitely the way the world is moving. Linking products, devices, networks, objects and data opens up infinite possibilities. In the new paradigm of computing outside the desktop, the information and communication systems will become embedded in our environment and, unseen by us, will be transmitting and receiving information and communicating with a myriad of other devices, objects and networks. What were previously sensing devices used for gather information of GIS technologies will now evolve into ‘smart’ decision making and implementation systems. An example would be people-centric sensing where low cost sensing of the environment specifically localized to the user can be conducted.

When this capability builds it would be possible to provide solutions real time specific to the user needs based on the environment and context in which an event occurs. Data visualization and analysis will improve in leaps and bounds when integrating GIS with IOT. Predicting environmental changes and events will be enhanced by this union. The uses are varied and numerous, for e.g.- insurance companies can track driving behavior real time, supply chain management and inventory management can happen remotely, you can receive status updates from your home devices and control them while away. The implementation of this can also greatly impact waste management, urban planning, home automation, environmental monitoring and management and emergency response systems. To enable this, emerging technologies such as real-time localization, embedded sensors and near field communications also need to be developed simultaneously.

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Mine Management System A Spatial Approach

A vast pile of data will be created during mining activity from pre-exploration stage to closure and environmental impact assessment stage of the mining activity. Spatial data play a major role when compared to non-spatial data and documentation. So, a comprehensive mine management system is a necessary pre-requisite in this modern era of mining. Lease area boundary, various image data acquired during the mining activity in the form of raster data set and vector layers created out of those raster data set form part of the mining spatial data base.

This comprehensive management system helps different people in different ways. For a transport manager, it is all about gradient of the haul roads and hence fuel efficiency estimator. For a geologist, it is a data pool for lithological and structural data sets. For a mine engineer, this system is a project monitoring system which gives present status of mining. An environmentalist sees this system as a back-end information having temporal data sets for the environmental impact assessment.

What mine management system constitute is a web based application where all mine related spatial and linked non-spatial data sets are available. This will enable decision makers to view all related information to arrive at various decision making. Based on the requirement these spatial and allied non-spatial data can be on and off to do various analysis. There will be navigation tools in the portal to navigate the data sets and to do queries both spatial and well as text based. Hierarchical log in will facilitate the administrator to allow editing and other need based solutions. Complete data set in a single platform will enable managers to have information based decision in quick turnaround time.

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Drone based stockpile management for mines

Managing stockpile inventory is one of the biggest challenges in the mining industry. The key to a well-administered mining company is to have an objective analysis of the ongoing process. The traditional ground survey technology though found to be very precise, is time-consuming and expensive. UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) photogrammetry, alternatively, provides an efficacious technique for mapping and aerial volumetric calculation of stockpiles.

Before the drones were introduced, measuring stockpile volume was a labor-intensive job. The surveyors had to physically climb on the stockpiles with GPS equipment to do so. The derived estimation could be erroneous as they manually take multiple data points and map the stockpile’s size to calculate the volume. Contrary to this traditional method, UAV eliminates human effort needs and accelerates operational efficiency.

The Wi-Fi enabled drone flies over the stockpile area, outlined by the surveyor, and seizes the high-resolution data on its system. The data is then transformed into a 3D model and sent to the manufacturer’s cloud system. This combination of aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry is a low-cost alternative compared to manned aircraft, as it reduces both, man-hours and resource consumption. Also, unlike the traditional method, it doesn’t demand for a tripod setup or vehicles with bulky equipment, further reducing the expenditure.

Drones can construct an accurate terrain model of an open mine and the obtained highly précised geospatial data helps the company take better decision. Since drones can be deployed frequently, it cost-effectively monitors stockpiles. It keeps a regular check on how much material has been removed from the stockpile, as removing them after a certain period of time is necessary. This reduces the surveyor’s efforts of manually doing so.

The mining sector is now inclining towards drones for mapping and monitoring stockpiles as it comes with added benefits of safety, lower cost, reduced labor and faster processing.

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Topographical Mapping for Small Mines Using Drones

Mining professionals conducting topographical surveys have clearly seen the benefits of using drones. With drone support they are able to gather comprehensive, accurate and real time data of the entire mine site, saving money and effort, significantly. As compared to the traditional methods of surveying, the data gleaned is predominantly the same, however the process is much more cost effective, efficient and the data is much richer as well.

Benefits of drone based mapping are plenty, as drones are able to create precise and high definition maps in no time. And all types of date are made available through drones, and almost instantaneously the same can be uploaded to servers and mine management authorities can access the same from anywhere in the world.

Professional-quality maps and 3D models equip mines to calculate aggregate volumes, track equipment locations and monitor safety measures. Volume measurement with drones affords safety, speed, accuracy and completeness. The comprehensive picture it provides helps in making informed decisions that boosts productivity in mines. Stockpile volumetrics is an important aspect in the mining lifecycle, drones can do this much laborious task without the help of survey crews and also without pouting anyone in danger’s way.

Drones have earned a reputation for being cost effective and accurate providing access to real time data creation, which is why it is a boon to small mines. SBL possesses expertise in managing drone based data and is able to process such data almost real time.

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Application of UAVs in the Prospecting Process for Mining

An industry that requires large resources of manpower to operate has taken a new techno turn. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) or drones as they are known in common parlance have taken over the role of the human prospector and are proving their worth by giving faster, more accurate and cheaper data collection, accumulation and analysis methods in the field of prospecting.

Drones are unmanned flying machines that are operated by either remote control or they operate on a pre-configured flight path which has already been set for them These flying machines function as photographers wherein cameras are fitted either in their underbelly to capture images of the mining site. Potential mining sites are surveyed using these flying photographers prior to sending the miners to collect samples. A touch and feel dominated industry has welcomed remote data collection and processing with same or better results.

There are many types of drones that can be used in the mining industry and they can be chosen based on what they are going to be used for: For example, A first look at a potential site can be carried out by a fixed wing drone equipped with a camera, , a mining safety protocol enabler and an in-depth research oriented data provision are best served by rotary drones, which can access the most inaccessible places because of their ability to hover and move up and down vertically. The data and information collected by these drones has proven to be the bedrock of research and analysis that is used to assess a site’s potential for payload in terms of presence of the mineral resource for which it has been prospected. This information and analysis also forms the basis on which a go or a no-go decision is made and is also used to attract potential investors to invest in the site development for a site which has been classified as a “go” site.

Another interesting development is the integration of UAV’s with other traditional survey equipment like total stations, GNSS systems and terrestrial laser scanners. With commercial software applications developing the ability to combine data from these different sources in an intelligent and logical fashion, the utility of the drone in prospecting has gone up.

With the rapid advancement of technology in this domain we might, in the not so distant future see mines operated by remote by using a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI – aka robots), drones etc with no human presence required.

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