The application of geospatial information (GI) affects more than just the geomatics sector, according to Dr. Cassidy Rankine, Chief Technology Officer with Skymatics.
“Who doesn’t use geospatial information? Even people that aren’t deeply connected online are still using geospatial information on a daily basis,” said Rankine.
“Everyone uses their smartphones now for navigation and location-based services, it’s so widespread now that we don’t even notice we’re using GI on an hourly (or less) basis. It’s so pervasive now, it’s really hard to find anyone not using it in some way”
Rankine has had the opportunity to work in the geomatics sector around the world and is especially hopeful about Canada’s growing industry.
“In my experience, Canada is uniquely positioned. We seemed to have almost a disproportionate impact of geomatics in Canada - just based on the number of people in our country in relation to its size.”
Rankine notes that Canada has a large geomatics community, which is necessary considering the size of our country in relation to population.
“Such a large country with a small population, with so many resources to manage. We really have been at the forefront of the industry for at least the past few decades,” said Rankine.
At Skymatics, Rankine is involved with elevating the data and services provided with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
“As soon as you connect the fact that the imagery or data you take with [UAVs] can be given a spatial coordinate, then you can start creating geospatial data and really adding value to what the camera drone can do.”
Skymatics is a remote-sensing and GIS company specializing in UAVs based out of Calgary, Alberta.
“We have a team here that focuses heavily on image analysis and image classification and taking all this data and imagery and creating intelligent insights in whatever we are capturing with the UAVs,” said Rankine.
Rankine notes that most UAV users and service providers out there, in general, are for media and marketing. Skymatics is different in that the majority of their UAV services are for land mapping and other geospatial data products.
“Our primary clients are land surveying companies that want to be more efficient in the way they capture topographic data, high-resolution spatial imagery. This can be natural resource companies or energy companies.”
Rankine would like to see insurance companies and legal companies utilize UAVS and geospatial information in the near future.
“They’re an amazing tool to capture every detail and overview of a site, when there’s any damages for claims purposes, accidents on a site, or a crime scene.”
The only real limitation Rankine sees with the current geomatics sector is the capability of computers to utilize the data being collected.
“The focus of development in the geomatics sector is really on the application side. People can just create applications on demand. It’s kind of bottlenecked right now as far as what computers can do with that information. But what Skymatics is investing in and trying to be a leader on the UAV front for spatial management and interpretation is artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Rankine.
“Canada is in a really neat position to track the impact of geomatics and spatial information and see how it affects industries. We have the GeoAlliance Canada that is this body put together to define what is geomatics, how is it impacting the workplace, how is it impacting the economy, how is it impacting people’s day-to-day, and how can we measure how the advancement of this sector is improving overall productivity, wellbeing, and safety.”
For more information about Dr. Cassidy Rankine, check out his speaker’s bio. To learn more about Skymatics and their products and services, see their website www.skymatics.com.
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