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In search of third ‘A’

Autonomy, the first A

The flexibility with which autonomous survey units are able to collect data is easing the surveyor’s foray into difficult terrain and geographies to some extent. Extrapolate the situation and considering how quickly it has evolved over last 8-10 years, it is perhaps another decade or so when your autonomous unit, which is parked in remote place is accessed and asked to provide geospatial data in given scale. This autonomous unit, which is commonly referred to as Drone, can fly to the site to be surveyed and collects data. In case if its LiDAR survey, it even can fly during night hours. The dynamic charging strips on roads and highways as well as charging stations in cities and urban localities are used in between to re-charge its battery.

AI, the 2nd A

Once it receives the request/command for data collection, its own AI comes into play. It plans the route, the flight path and the data collection sensor- optical or LiDAR to be used. Depending on the scale at which the data is required and the purpose of the data use, it decides when and how the survey will be done. It logs on to the GCP network, which is controlled by Survey Authority and submits the ePermission, which gets verified in matter of minutes and its ready to get access to the precise CORS. Simultaneously it is also accessing the multiple GNSS and SBAS. At the designated time it flies off, to collect data. The AI has in mean while logged into the high speed processing of data which is controlled by an industry player to process its data. The Giga bps connectivity from Jio is allowed to send the data to the web interface of data processing plant. The data processing plant, which is based on the advanced version of Blockchain technology, processes billions of point cloud data and lakhs of photographs to produce large scale vector data in the scale of 1:400. The vector data is sent to the eVerification Gateway, controlled jointly by the Défense & Homeland Security Service. This data is overlayed on top of the sensitive data mapping and other inputs being received by the eVG on real time basis. The eVG does not find anything objectionable and sends the data back to the processing plant, which in turns deducts the processing fees from user account and send the verified vector data to the AI of data collection unit.

The 3rd A

This vector data, however has limitation, that it has limited “Acceptance” for critical infrastructure project, which is not yet approved by professionals of land survey. There have been several discussions on the demerits and risk which accompanies such artificially processed data and hence has been recommended as best to be used for reconnaissance, preliminary study, project reports and the likes.

The artificial intelligence or AI has been there for several decades. Its only that ability to sense, analyse and act accordingly is now maturing for its usage in day to day life. In silos, many developments could be seen as building blocks to the future of autonomous land survey. The transition from mechatronics to software defined products or AI defined mobility, dynamic charging, crowd sourcing from point cloud, image interpretation and to top it all the connected world.
“Accenture analysed 12 developed economies and found that AI has the potential to double their annual economic growth rates by 2035.”

About Maneesh Prasad

Having been associated with the GIS/Geospatial/Mapping industry for over two decades, today he is believer in the strength & utility of survey and mapping industry. He is into the bandwagon of specific interest group which is into the advocacy of utility of geospatial data for the developmental works in India. He is one of the founding member of Survey and Mapping Association.

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