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The AGI East of England Regional Group recently hosted a seminar in Cambridge exploring the implications of Big Data for the geospatial community.

Our first speaker was Pete Wilkinson of ESRI UK, who gave us a tour of the Big Data landscape, discussed what is and is not Big Data, and the trends and challenges it presents. He outlined ESRI’s roadmap for dealing with Big Data:

  • Working with the main players to give access to data from ESRI software
  • Developing analysis and visualisation tools to make sense of the data torrent
  • Providing tools to deal with large imagery datasets.


Our second speaker was Chris Wright of 1Spatial who talked about a case study where spatial intelligence is saving large amounts of money by plugging data gaps: inferring the existence and the exact location of buried water pipes to residential property from a set of business rules, which would otherwise cost £100-£200 per property to survey. He went on to describe ways an emerging technology in which repeated scanning by drones can give early warning of problems in pipe networks where changes in pipe dimensions or position are detected.

Both talks generated thoughtful debate from a knowledgeable and appreciative audience, which spanned academia, engineering, local government and (of course) the geospatial industry.

Thanks to Ian Sheppard of WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for supplying his overview of the seminar.


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