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GeoData London Showcase 2016 Report

Last week the GeoXphere team were invited to co-exhibit with Getmapping at the GeoData 2016 London Showcase in London, UK.

Over the last few years it's become one of the most well attended and diverse geospatial events on the UK calendar.

This year we had the opportunity to bring one of our survey vehicles into the exhibition hall, along with its mobile mapping system, the XCAM G. We also had an XCAM B being showcased by 3D software supplier Skyline. Along with myself doing a short presentation on medium format aerial survey, it was certainly a busy event for our team.

It's always interesting to see which companies commit to exhibiting at these events and how trends change. I find it gives a really good indication of what's hot and what's not. This year there were two themes that stood out for me: data availability and the transition from 2D mapping to 3D.

What I mean by data availability is the ability for spatial software to be more competent at displaying the answers that users are looking for instead of the raw data itself. This is an important step for GIS to take to stay relevant and continue the trend of being an essential tool on everyone's desktop, tablet and mobile. It's certainly something that the GeoXphere team are working on with our XMAP Cloud GIS. The data needs to be intuitive and accessible to the untrained user and that seems to be taking effect now with the drive towards Cloud GIS and modern web coding frameworks.

Of course, the analytics is useless without strong, up-to-date mapping datasets in the background. There were many suppliers in this field at GeoData including GeoPlace (national addressing), Getmapping (national aerial imagery), The Coal Authority (subterranean UK coal industry information), and The GeoInformation Group (detailed topographic mapping). It's great to see the UK geospatial industry thriving on such strong commercial data producers.

The other theme of 2D to 3D manifested itself not so much in a physical presence, but through discussion with peers (some clients and industry friends). There was much talk on the need to be capturing data that has Z values by default, and augmenting existing data with height. The reason was the challenge to be able to analyse the world through GIS in a truly 3D nature. Whether it's planning, disaster response, security or environmental monitoring, better analysis comes from better input data and 3D environments seem to tick that box. We represented some of the data collection methods at the event with our low operational cost mobile mapping system and airborne camera. We also saw some fantastic tools that allow the data to be used effectively with Skyline software. If the interest that we received during the day is anything to go by, it's not hard to imagine 3D by default working its way into standard GIS very soon.

We'd like to thank the GeoAware team for once again putting on a great event and supplying the mulled wine and mince pies. Until next year!