Esri’s GeoAI helps discover patterns and relationships between different types of datasets. The combination of AI and spatial analytics is helping industries simulate outcomes in various scenarios, and it’s evolving in fascinating ways. Mr. Agenda Kumar, MD, Esri India share more ideas on the same topic.
Question 1- Elaborate on the importance of the Indian market in reference to the adoption of geospatial technologies? What trend do you foresee in the years to come?
India is one of the fastest growing economies with particular emphasis on infrastructure development, urbanization, agriculture, water sector development, climate change, etc. These are some of the sectors that also use geospatial technologies. GIS provides a framework for understanding the real situation at ground level and making decisions, taking action and also evaluating the impact of actions taken. A GIS-based framework is very important to meet the priorities we have as a country.
In terms of trends, the Indian government announced new geospatial data guidelines in February 2021. These guidelines removed many restrictions, which existed on the collection, creation, storage and dissemination of geospatial data. Such a positive change in the policy environment leads to greater data creation and greater adoption of GIS. For example, creating 3D data is helping many private sector organizations create new applications, especially in areas such as 5G deployment.
Second, I see GIS technology helping decision makers in both the public and private sector to use location-based analysis and integration with other commercial systems. It is now becoming an interconnected environment, where GIS accesses data from many sources and systems, assists in analysis, and feeds data into different business systems. When it comes to this type of connectivity, people prefer to move to the cloud and want to host their GIS infrastructure on the cloud, so that it is easier for them to scale, scale down, manage and have better connectivity with other systems.
Third, we are seeing greater integration of machine learning and GIS. ArcGIS has many built-in features for AI/ML, which allow our users to perform different types of analysis on the data. Machine learning capabilities help them in tasks such as feature extraction from images or videos and data extraction from different types of tabular or textual information. Many new features are also developed in this area.
Question 2- What are the key technologies, products and innovations offered by Esri India in the Indian market?
I would like to talk about three things here. First, we launched Indo ArcGIS last year, which is growing. We are adding more solution products to Indo ArcGIS and adding more data layers to it. Currently we have over 630 data layers and some of these data layers are not commonly available. This brings a lot of value to our user community. Some of the examples are – road network data layers, especially in rural areas, stations, railways, etc. This data can greatly help in logistics like the movement of goods by railroads. We have also gathered accurate information on borders at different levels by working with various government organizations. Some of these datasets are important for a variety of geospatial applications, not only in the government sector but also in the private sector. These data layers are part of our “Living Atlas” and are hosted on a Cloud in India.
Second, ArcGIS makes it easy to create GeoHubs within organizations. These GeoHubs are widely used in industries such as disaster management, smart cities, healthcare, etc. They bring communities together. Geohubs are being adopted by cities, government agencies, and businesses to ensure they can share data internally and externally with relevant stakeholders.
The third is advanced geospatial analysis which is built into ArcGIS. It includes predictive modeling, real-time spatiotemporal analysis, GeoAI, Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics. These are required by our users because they like to take full advantage of the data they have in their organizations. They want to use this data and analysis to find new trends and patterns and understand the correlation between different data sets. Advanced spatial analysis helps them achieve this goal.
Question 3: The government takes the brunt of the pie in terms of clients and projects. What are some of the GIS solutions offered by Esri India?
Government organizations form a large user base of GIS. We have worked with the government sector for a very long time. Many powerful solutions have been deployed to address the challenges we face as a country, some of the examples are – tackling the problem of deforestation, water scarcity, climate change, healthcare, urbanization, disaster management, etc. For example, smart cities use GIS-based solutions for solid and liquid waste management, water distribution, urban infrastructure maintenance, smart parking and smart lighting, etc. Some of these solutions are part of Indo ArcGIS. Some of the major telecommunications companies are already using ArcGIS technology.
Question 4: What are your main vertical markets? Share details of projects you are actively working on.
We focus on many verticals like telecommunications, manufacturing, insurance, financial services, and retail, which are mostly in the private sector, and then we have utilities, both in the private and audience. We focus on electric, gas and water utilities. Most electric utilities and many city gas distribution companies use Esri’s ArcGIS to manage their distribution networks. We also focus on the natural resources segment, which includes mining, water resources, forestry departments, oil and gas companies. Urban development is another key area where municipalities, other ULBS and smart cities are major users of our technology. ‘Swamiva’ is one of the major key projects of Panchayati Raj’s ministry.
Question 5: How are next generation technologies such as AI, ML and others helping to improve GIS technology?
Esri focuses a lot on using AI and machine learning, some of the functionality is built into ArcGIS. We call it GeoAI. GeoAI helps to discover patterns and relationships between different types of datasets. Using ArcGIS, we offer a number of ready-to-use templates that work with both vector and tabular data, images, and text. We also integrate many open science libraries such as Python and TensorFlow into applications such as automatic vehicle detection and tracking, point cloud classification, object detection, land cover classification, feature extraction, etc. This combination of AI and spatial analytics helps industries simulate outcomes in various scenarios, and it’s evolving in fascinating ways.