Defining the Spatial Industry

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:00 AM

As the peak body in the Spatial Industry it is fundamental that SIBA has a way of scoping the industry it represents and serves. In a first attempt to address this challenge, SIBA QLD has created and produced the accompanying info graphic for discussion and review.  
We see the spatial data value chain must be at the heart of the ecology. Around this core our members collaborate and compete to build value.  We have then overlaid a series of operations (capture, design/author, representation, simulation, extrapolation, visualisation and sharing) with niche activities (platform, tools, services, operations) invoking these value transformations.  A more detailed description is outlined below.
We recognise this diagram is just a first version, and welcome your constructive feedback and contribution to this exercise to better articulate the scope of our industry.  We do realise that only a subset of spatial activities are listed (rather space constrained) on the outer perimeter. We have selected activities to hint at the breadth and diversity of our industry.  

Spatial Data Ecology


The platform is the underpinning-enabling infrastructure for the delivery of tools, services and operations of spatial data. Virtual platform examples include cloud hosting, GPS and mobile networks etc.  Physical platform examples include satellites, aircraft, UAV/drones and devices such as sensors, cameras, and smart phones. 


These are the instruments, programs or apps designed to facilitate and curate the spatial data ecology.  Examples include Computer Aided Design (CAD), Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), games engines, augmented reality.


Stakeholders play different roles in providing services that contribute to the spatial data ecology. Surveyors capture and certify data about the present; architects, planners and urban designers envision futures for places. 


Emergency, utility, facility and city management are all examples of operations that embrace the full lifecycle of the spatial data ecosystem.  Emergency Management preparedness feeds directly into a cycle of response, recovery and mitigation. 


This is the capture of data from people, sensors and records including photogrammetry, field surveying, photography, and cartographic digitization and scanning.

In addition, technological developments now offer sensors, crowd sourcing, hyper spectral and LiDAR which produce rich data sets at ever increasing frequency. 


This is the value building process in which tools such as CAD and GIS are used to create meaningful models of the data.  These models may be generated using the captured data to represent places in the past and present (e.g. surveyors), or inspired by new ideas of the future (e.g. architects). 


Government organisations are typically awash with unstructured data - much of it inaccessible and disassociated.  We can more meaningfully represent and share information if we spatially index it. Representation is the structuring and making sense of data to find ways to express the complexity of our real world with digital media. 


Given that our physical world reality is essentially dynamic and complexly interrelated, there is an increasing trend towards feeding unified digital representations of places with live captured data and simulating scenarios with near real-time performances e.g. traffic movement. 


Extrapolation is the synthesis of new knowledge acquired from evidential models and other systems inputs. This assists in discovering patterns in the knowledge and enabling sharing of data in new contexts.


Visualisation enables our minds to comprehend data e.g. Info graphic, animation, 3D printed model, soundscape, augmented reality, timeline etc.  The mode of visualisation will be largely determined by the activity at hand and the experience of the user.


Sharing encompasses discovery and story telling. The stories can trigger deep personal meaning from the visualisations, and inspire communities and individuals to demand more evidence about places; innovative ideas and completeness of knowledge to further improve our decision-making processes. 


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