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  • Helen Wattie

How IoT is harnessing the Power of Where for a smarter future

The world is full of connected devices – commonly referred to as The Internet of Things. In this blog, Getmapping Product Manager, Martin Tocher, provides insight into how IoT is harnessing the power of Geospatial data to create innovative, real-time solutions that deliver positive benefits to society and a smarter future.

We know that there are sensors everywhere – on your mobile phone, in your vehicle, in buildings and even in your home. Slightly scary, which is why it is so important to regularly update your password and always have the latest security updates!

Leveraging IoT to create solutions to the challenges we face

Despite potential security concerns, having access to the right information can also be a force for good, enabling us to make more informed decisions and create solutions that will deliver positive benefits to society – such as actively reducing our impact on the environment around us.

The amount of data being collected, from monitoring, measuring and photographing, is increasing exponentially. With the right tools in place, big data can now be analysed and combined to provide actionable insights and create valuable predictions, such as in the design of smarter cities, reducing pollution, increasing mobility and improving infrastructure.

Actionable insights, together with AI, are already helping us make better decisions and create solutions we hadn’t thought possible.

Geospatial as a key technology enabler

Aerial photography, LiDAR, satellites, drones and other mapping and survey technologies provide a digitised view of the environment where the exact location of the sensors are known.

The sensor information, when combined with accurate location data and powerful AI algorithms, opens up the possibility of real time analysis and the creation of real time actionable insights. Add to this a connected world, and in particular 5G networks designed to enhance connectivity between IoT powered device and services (higher bandwidth, low latency, improved reliability, massive network capacity and increased availability to users), and real time insights become not just a possibility, but a hugely exciting reality.

Powering real time solutions - Predikt

Getmapping, in partnership with kerbside management technology company AppyWay, and part funded by an innovation grant from West Midlands 5G (WM5G), created a new solution to detect available parking spaces using dashcam technology, and make them available to the end user via an app in near real time.

This was made possible using dashcam technology built in-house by Getmapping and incorporating the ability to stream georeferenced imagery over 5G directly to the cloud.

Once in the cloud, AI algorithms were developed to detect and place vehicles into a digital twin parking bay dataset created by Getmapping and Appyway, and the parking data then fed back to AppyWay’s app.

The result of the program delivered a detection rate of an available parking space in a bay accurate to above 90%, and all within 20 seconds!

In addition to providing live data, the results were also fed into a parking prediction model, Predikt, along with data from in-road sensors and other third party datasets, further improving data accuracy and giving drivers visibility of the best parking options for them at the start of their journey, with real time updates along the way.

Being able to direct drivers to empty parking spaces has clear benefits to society as it reduces both time and fuel emissions spent on driving around in search of an empty space.

In addition, the imagery captured by Getmapping’s dashcam is being evaluated for use to derive other useful analytics such as traffic conditions, obstacle detection, waste overspill detection and the potential for real time street surveys.

Longer-term, the Predikt app can be rolled out to more UK cities and shared with other transport users such as rail, bike and scooter providers. Adopted at this scale, the solution will make on-street parking as a whole more efficient, improving commuter experiences, optimising the city’s revenues, facilitating business and enhancing the use of a digital kerbside.

Essentially making a smarter city.

What Next? Preparing for a smarter future

Each year we capture the environment at higher resolution and higher frequencies in response to the increasingly complex demands of our customers. We are constantly investing in research to help get our data from sensor to insight as quickly as possible, in as near real time as possible. Predikt was a first step towards that goal. Watch this space!

Martin Tocher – Product Manager

Martin has been in the geospatial industry for over 30 years and at his time with Getmapping has been instrumental in the creation of the UKs largest aerial photo datasets and developing the company’s mobile mapping capability. His wealth of expertise is being utilised in the development of new products and improving work flows to keep the company at the forefront of technology and best practices.



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