Industry Insights: Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Government Product News (GPN): What are some new innovations that have been integrated into your industry’s products recently?
Robert Locke (RL): We’re continually seeing higher resolution imagery being integrated into the market. The higher the resolution, the more detail you’re able to see from each image. For Geographic information systems (GIS) managers, assessors valuing properties, or public safety personnel planning for or responding to incidents, higher resolution provides a greater sense of confidence in decision making. Imagery taken from an airplane usually provides much greater detail than imagery captured from a satellite.
As we’ve seen in many industries, machine learning has made its way into the aerial imaging market as well. From recognizing damaged buildings after a weather event to finding an unreported shed in a backyard that wasn’t there the year prior, machine learning is helping government agencies create more intelligent and efficient workflows.
GPN: What is the biggest misunderstanding/myth that you think public sector professionals may believe about doing business with your industry or using your industry’s products?
RL: From what we have seen throughout our experience in aerial imagery and property data, many government municipalities believe that aerial imagery is only correlated with a limited number of government agencies when in fact, high-resolution imagery can benefit all agencies within a local government.
The biggest misconception is how versatile it is. Rather than simply assisting in property assessment, GIS and public safety, aerial imagery can also be used in urban planning, disaster response, flood planning and many more agencies. The options and use cases are far from limited.
GPN: What should local government professionals consider most when buying and/or using products within your industry?
RL: When local government professionals are looking to invest in aerial imagery, it’s important to be confident in the decision making. Understanding the history the company has and how far back its imagery dates in your region is crucial for getting all of the answers to those day-to-day questions.
Not only should one look at the historical data, but the quality of the products and services. Is the imagery high-resolution? Can we see all the angles of each property? Do we have access to training for when we are onboarding or have questions down the line?
It’s also best to keep in mind any other technology that your agencies are currently using and whether or not that aerial imagery vendor integrates into those existing products. This will help to minimize workflow disruption as you introduce that new technology into your agency.
Another important topic to focus is on whether or not the vendor will consider you just another customer or a lifelong partner. Just as with any other technology, aerial imaging can require support.
GPN: What future developments can governments expect to see from this industry?
RL: On the horizon, we definitely anticipate higher resolution imagery than ever before captured with much more advanced camera systems. With the further development of machine learning technology, local governments will find they can do more with less. Technology will take on the mundane legwork that bogs us down, allowing county officials to provide more exceptional and engaging service to their constituents.
These recent machine learning capabilities are really driving vendors to focus on innovation and providing the most coverage for customers. Because of this, we see a property data base not too far in the future. This kind of database will provide quick answers to questions in multiple verticals including all agencies within local government municipalities.
Robert Locke, is the vice president of Government Solutions at EagleView.