Last month, Merrett Survey representatives attended the 2019 GEO Business Conference, to network with other industry experts and to investigate all things geomatics. The sixth installment of the GEO Business event was held on May 21st and 22nd, and we’ve seen improvements in its benefits year-on-year. In this article, we discuss the standout technologies and how we see the industry progressing in the near future.
‘Land surveying’ was renamed ‘Geomatics’ to better reflect the very wide range of activities and services that land surveyors are now involved in and, just as the profession itself is evolving, so is industry terminology. At this year’s GEO Business event, we were informed that our industry is to be renamed ‘Geospatial’ – which is the science of collecting, analysing and implementing data relating to the earth’s surface.
With this data, analysts can construct visual representations of the built world as well as the natural environment on earth, under its surfaces and beneath the sea. This, in turn, can be used to create advanced representations using virtual and augmented reality, which is getting progressively popular in our profession.
Owner of Merrett Survey Limited, Peter Merrett said: “I met the organisers of the ILMF (International Lidar Mapping Forum) in USA some years ago and thought what a great job they were doing at bringing together all aspects of the Lidar industry – suppliers, users, professional associations and Government bodies.
“Those same people have taken a hold of the UK’s geospatial community (including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Chartered Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) and The Survey Association (TSA), and created the annual conference and exhibition, known as GEO Business. Upon its formation, GEO Business instantly became the biggest and best professional UK event in our industry.
“This is a great place to network and discuss the latest issues with fellow surveyors, to discover the latest technologies. Such events not only make our work more efficient, but add value to the services we provide.”
Digital twin technology enables organisations to create a digital version of a physical entity. The technology has been around for some time, since around the turn of the century, in fact. One example of this was when Apollo 13 was in trouble. The engineers and astronauts back on Earth used a precise digital version of its systems and hardware to refine and fix elements of the system, ensuring the salvation of the mission.
In that example, the digital twin was used to save lives. Now, by creating a digital twin of your asset, building, process plant or even a city, our clients can work more efficiently to predict future problems, test re-designs and carry out modifications before expensive mistakes are made in the real world.
Merrett Survey’s geospatial team can provide the high accuracy and rapid measurement of the real world, using laser scanning, lidar, photogrammetry, UAV drones and more. We then convert that data to 3D models, in a wide variety of formats, that form the base layer for your digital twin.
One speaker gave us a real-life insight into how the ‘digital twin’ idea is still in its infancy. The manager of one brand new super high tech building in London, covered in sensors of all kinds, was
asked how they access the design drawings, BIM model, as-built drawings and service records for the building itself and he revealed that they, in fact, had no idea.
Are smart cities the future of urbanisation? We learned about the development of smart cities at the GEO Business event and immersed ourselves in the technological environment that facilitates such developments. A smart city is the digitalisation of a city, including the physical world (a 3D map if you like), plus its processes.
The digital representation of a city, therefore, presents analysts with the chance to improve the way of life for residents of a city, with the advancing of essential life components shared by all. Through the monitoring and projection of elements such as public transport, traffic flow, parking management, energy consumption, lighting and water consumption, analysts can drastically improve living conditions, social spheres and the overall efficiency of cities.
Methods of data gathering can include sensors connected to the Internet of Things, which can be placed around different parts of a city, constantly collecting and updating information. The analysis of such data enables people to manage assets and resources with greater efficiency.
Analysts can determine both opportunities and obstacles in real time, thereby reducing costs. Identifying problems in the lead up to their emergence and administering resources more concisely can maximise the economic performance of a city.
Yes, we are still happy to be called Land Surveyors. Merrett Surveys are continually looking for ways to implement the latest technology, so that our surveying techniques remain relevant, efficient and, ultimately, results orientated. Our involvement in key discussion topics, such as those at the recent GEO Business conference, helps us prepare and plan for industry changes. Contact us if you wish to discuss anything mentioned in this article or, indeed, any of the services we provide.