Innovation in GIS

Augmented reality, automated vehicles, building footprints, COVID-19, drones, fake news, and wetlands.



When I had the opportunity to attend Esri’s User Conference (UC) in 2019, I was very impressed with the Esri Startup Program, the companies benefiting from the program, and the solutions being developed and produced. The program provides access to Esri online services, software, development tools, content, training, support, and co-marketing for companies that are less than three-years-old, with less than $1 million in revenue, that are developing software solutions, and share common goals and best practices with Esri and ArcGIS.


Since the 2020 UC was virtual, I made a point to check out this year’s innovators. Here’s what I found:


Airspace Link is an all-in-one citizen, business, and small drone delivery services platform that supports regulatory systems and unlocks the “last mile” of drone package delivery. The platform enables delivery compliance for businesses to grow delivery services faster with jurisdictional approval. AirSpace Link solutions enable businesses and citizens to sign-up for drone package delivery, provide easy to use government inspection and management apps, and afford government funding through permitting, compliance licensing, and annual recurring revenue.


BuildingFootprintUSA is leading innovation in the location intelligence building footprint category. They continuously expand and improve their database of nationwide addressed buildings, and provide the ability to link buildings with other key information like physical characteristics, real property data, demographic data, list data, and more. This enables users to use buildings where people, work, shop, play and live as the anchor for information. Popular use cases are in insurance, telecommunications, utilities, and real estate.


Ecobot is a platform for wetland scientists that includes Esri integration that allows customers to map polygons in the content of filling out U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wetland determination forms. Map features collected in the field can be dropped directly into ArcGIS Pro simplifying digital field data collection and improving field and office efficiency within the existing workflow. This results in faster wetland delineation reporting and mapping of wetlands for A/E/C and environmental firms.


Epistemix draws on expertise in epidemiology, clinical practice, and computer science to understand and represent how epidemics spread in populations using FRED (Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics) agent-based modeling platform to create and analyze epidemiological models and simulate how populations change over time. The platform represents every individual in the U.S. as a unique computational agent, each with its own unique geography, demographics, social contacts, and environmental interactions. This enables models to be dynamic and includes individual responses and behaviors as they would actually happen in space and time-specific to any geography across the U.S.


Factal provides real-time, verified, and geolocated breaking news about critical incidents worldwide like COVID-19, social unrest, and severe weather. By integrating with Esri’s GeoEvent Server, Fractal provides real-time coverage and functionality into maps and apps. This addresses the explosion of misinformation and disinformation that obfuscates decision making and wastes critical resources.


BrAeIn by iSpatialTec is a smart artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, and location intelligence (GIS) solution, that creates intelligent live monitoring and voice-activated dashboards, provides predictive analytics based on deep learning algorithms and defined data patterns. BrAeIn provides many benefits including improving efficiency, safety, productivity monitoring, performance diagnostics, regulatory compliance for utilities, energy, transportation, local government, and agriculture.


Moove.ai is using connected vehicle data to enhance transportation safety and efficiency by using advanced machine learning (ML) to understand risks and build mitigation solutions. The platform connects all the data and systems involved in digital transportation -- road maps, traffic control signage and signals, traffic monitoring systems, connected vehicles, and routing systems. All of this data is used to improve efficiency, road safety, and security for the edge (i.e. vehicles).


Overlay has built a reality alignment engine that provides stability and accuracy, down to the centimeter, to provide stability and accuracy to augmented reality (AR) in the field to enable people to work faster, smarter, and with great precision. By maintaining centimeter-level accuracy Overlay shows users data where it is supposed to be and enables consistently accurate and reliable measurements.


vGIS is the leading AR visualization platform for BIM and GIS. vGIS enables field personnel to see an augmented view that includes holographic infrastructure objects, improving their environmental assessments, and increasing their situational awareness. From delivering real-time, in-field holographic visualizations of underground pipes, valves, cables, and other utility objects to visualizing ground-penetrating radar scans, vGIS solutions are estimated to save 12-20 hours per person per month and prevent up to 50% of excavation-related accidents resulting from human error, among other benefits.

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© 2020 by Tom Smith | ctsmithiii@gmail.com | @ctsmithiii