The Importance of Local Context

29 May 2014 by Zac McCormick

At this year’s GEOINT Symposium in Tampa many companies showed their latest geospatial technology. It’s exciting to see so many diverse technologies work together to improve the overall GEOINT mission. Over the course of the 3-day exhibit hall, I had a chance to meet quite a few people that stopped by our booth. One of the unique things about Spatial Networks that interested people is our ability to capture highly detailed localized content.

We’re very interested in any new technologies that allow us to capture higher quality data more efficiently. This extends all the way from mobile operating systems to the server-based technologies used to produce deliverables. Because most of our work is done with commodity mobile devices, we focus primarily on Android and iOS. Advancements in these mobile operating systems enable us to deliver a highly customized data capturing experience for field users. We’ve found that the most effective way to increase the quality of incoming data is to adapt the interface and application to the field user, so they can use the technology in their local language. By placing an emphasis on the field user experience, we can produce higher quality data with fewer errors. Using Fulcrum, we can easily design and deploy a custom-built data capture solution to field users that includes localized application content. We can even deploy localized base map layers with road names and place names in a variety of languages. Using this technique, we can have a single schema for a collection requirement and have the freedom to do the field work in multiple languages.

Combining the flexibility of the software with ground-level local field users, we’re able to capture very detailed context-sensitive data. We’re also looking into ways to use emerging technologies like microsatellites to enable field users to have access to the latest imagery for the most accurate incoming data. This enables a new form of ground-truth capture in areas where it would be otherwise cost-prohibitive or logistically impossible to do. This capability has possibilities that extend beyond GEOINT, including disaster response, humanitarian relief, and private sector collection requirements.

We’re always looking for innovative ways to improve data quality and workflows. I’m particularly interested in the idea of combining remote sensing and fieldwork and having both work together to support the overall mission.

Zac McCormick

About the author

Zac is our director of engineering. His obsession with craftsmanship and quality means he’s involved with all aspects of the development process.