Sunday, August 29, 2010

Geospatial Cloud Computing In Support Of National Policy

A few weeks ago I once again had the pleasure of participating in a private discussion on cloud computing with Mr. Vivek Kundra.  What struck me in this most recent meeting was his views on the need to infuse geospatial information into the national policy decision making process. To demonstrate this point, he highlighted that even though high rates of healthcare fraud can be linked to specific locations, our lack of a national geodata standard could potentially hamper the consistent enforcement of a national policy in this area.

In their February blog post, "BI's Next Frontier: Geospatial Cloud Computing", Margot Rudell and Krishna Kumar succinctly described this need:

"Competitive superiority and prosperity require timely interpretation of space and time variables for contextual, condition-based decision making and timely action. Geospatial cockpits with cloud computing capabilities can now integrate the wealth of cloud data like macroeconomic indicators on the web with internal operations information to help define and execute optimal business decisions in real-time."

In fact, if Washington, DC CTO Bryan Sival has his way, Washington would become the first "Geocity in the Cloud":

"'The city is already a heavy supplier of mapping applications, having 26 apps that mash maps up with data on crimes, evacuation routes, school data, emergency facilities, addresses of notaries public, leaf collection, and much more.'

Sivak also wants to provide ways for citizens to update city maps or augment maps with additional information such as the location of park benches and traffic lights. The idea is to take crowdsourcing to a higher level of detail by offering the capability to use this geospatial data to mark not just locations but documents and data relevant to the place."

If you're interested in a detailed look at this growing trend, you should definitely take a look at the most recent On The Frontline publication titled "Geospatial Trends In Government". In the electronic magazine, Robert Burkhardt, Army Geospatial Information Officer, highlights the four major geospatial trends that are driving the use of Geospatial technologies in government. You can also read about the Army's Buckey System, which provides high-resolution urban terrain imagery for tactical missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
No wonder the NGA and Google are moving fast to link up with each other :-)

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