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Asset Management Blog Posts

GIS and Big Data Visualization for Asset Management and Beyond

By Farallon Geographics Team on October 07, 2014

GIS and Big Data Visualization for Asset Management and Beyond

Over the last few years, the concept of "Big data" has become ubiquitous. Big data refers to the rapid growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured that can be analyzed to enable smarter business decision making. Most discussions assume that big data applies only to large enterprises or federal government organizations trying to cope with massive volumes of data. While volume can often be one component, a more useful way to approach big data is as data that can't be managed or analyzed by traditional technologies such as simple databases, spreadsheets or KPI charts-and-graphics dashboards.

Sources of Big Data

Sources for big can be almost anything: Foursquare checkins, embedded roadway sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, energy performance modeling, transportation management, facilities and asset management - the list is endless. Many (most) of these involve physical assets or people that can be tied to a geospatial, location-based component such as a street address, census block or GPS coordinates.

Geospatial Visualization of Big Data

Wrapping your brain around disparate or unstructured or voluminous amounts of data - the essence of big data - can be challenging. Geospatial visualization and GIS data mapping are effective ways to make it all much easier. A map can be worth a thousand words, especially when you are trying to find relationships and see patterns in big data. A spreadsheet or traditional DB query can require a specialist, but a geospatial visualization or location-based dashboard conveys information in a universal manner that offers a shorter route to decision making and critical data analysis. Maps also make it simple to share ideas with others. It lets people ask, "Do you see what I see?" or "What would happen if we put a new building/transmission line/on-ramp/etc. here?" or "Where is insurance risk greatest given X?"

Importantly, to be truly actionable, geospatial visualizations need to be interactive as well as well-designed, understandable and easy-to-use. Touch interfaces, natural language queries, easy drill-downs and familiar map interfaces (e.g. Google Maps) are all important. The open source Arches project is a good example of interactive geospatial visualization to manage and analyze diverse assets and unstructured data.

Semantic Models

One of the challenges with big data is connecting disparate data sets. Systems often don’t talk to each other. But location is a common denominator that can unite data warehouses. Semantic data models embedded in geospatial representations of assets can greatly facilitate GIS as a way to analyze big data. Semantic models can correlate things in the physical world (tangible assets such as a network of pipes, electricity transmission lines, locations of competitor's business, etc.) with other kinds of data that describe the operations of a business (e.g financial systems). Visualizing these elements and looking for relationships can be the key to new insights.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication

Semantic data models are also relevant to the ever increasing volume of location-based machine data (e.g. from sensor/IoT networks). Semantic data models can track relationships among multiple material things and management systems and potentially communicate with each other automatically for things like supply chain management and maintenance.

Putting it all together

In many organizations, stakeholders can look at assets, they can look at customers, they can look at sales, they can look at deployments, they can look at unstructrued data, etc. But tying it all together using traditional tools can be problematic. This is the challenge of big data. Even when you know what you are looking for, sifting through large volumes of information in search of the most relevant pieces and related content can leave analytic blind spots. Geo-enriched data and semantically enhanced geospatial visualization can provide a good foundation to isolate patterns and see data in more interesting and useful ways to make faster and better-informed strategic, managerial and operational decisions.

Tags:   Asset Management

Arches Project recognized as one of Planetizen Top 10 Best Planning, Design, Development websites

By Farallon Geographics Team on September 24, 2014

Arches Project recognized as one of Planetizen Top 10 Best Planning, Design, Development websites

Every year, Planetizen recognizes ten websites as the best online resources for urban planning, design, and development. This year the Arches Project received the honor.
 
Developed by the Getty Conservation Institute and the World Monuments Fund with Farallon Geographics as the geospatial, UI and application design development team, the Arches project is an open source, web- and geospatially based information system designed to inventory and manage all types of immovable heritage, including archaeological sites, buildings, structures, landscapes, and heritage ensembles or districts.  It is a solution that is both applicable and relevant to a broad spectrum of heritage organizations all over the world, while also incorporating complex functions such as semantic ontology, graph database, elastic search and built-in mechanisms to enforce data standards.

Arches is currently in large-scale application for the city of Los Angeles’ Survey L.A. effort as well as the Kingdom of Jordan.

Tags:   Arches,   Asset Management,   Cultural Resources

Arches project has been accepted into Google Summer of Code!

By Farallon Geographics Team on February 26, 2014

Arches project has been accepted into Google Summer of Code!

Farallon Geographics applied to Google Summer of Code for the Arches project (ArchesProject.org). We are excited to announce that we have been approved to be a mentoring organization!

We are looking forward to an exciting summer with awesome contributions from students from the international community.

What is Google Summer of Code?

Google invites students from all over the world, to come up with interesting, non-trivial problems/solutions or enhancements for some of the most important open-source projects and work on them over the summer. Participants get support from the community plus a mentor who and acts as their primary guide to help them stay on track to meet their goals.

Farallon mentors and subject area resources

In addition to a primary mentor, students also receive help from Farallon Geographics subject-area experts including experts in front-end/JavaScript, Python, geospatial database developers, web development and Elasticsearch. CEO Dennis Wuthrich (the architect of Arches) will help students to understand the project and how their efforts can impact the wider Cultural Heritage community. This is an incredible opportunity for students to get involved with the Arches project and get technical mentoring along the way.

How to get involved

First, review the 'Ideas for Improving Arches' project ideas page. The ideas there are meant as starting points. Students are encouraged to review these ideas in much more detail and then give their suggestions and even detailed plans on how they want to proceed. Feel free to add your ideas to list in the Arches community discussion forum.

What skills are needed to work on these ideas?

As long as you're interested in cultural heritage and are not completely new to web programming, you should check out the project. You’ll have a leg up if you know Python for server-side development and JavaScript plus standard CSS3/HTML5 knowledge for front-end development. Familiarity with Django and/or with Model-View-Controller (MVC) patterns is helpful, as is familiarity with JSON, which is used for data transfer between client and server

Farallon knows that students love Open Source software, maps and flip flops. The Arches project and the Google Summer of Code could be your ticket to summer paradise.

About the Arches Project

Arches is a modern, user-friendly, open source information system created to help organizations inventory and manage heritage places of all types. It is a solution that is both applicable and relevant to a broad spectrum of heritage organizations all over the world, while also incorporating complex functions such as semantic ontology, graph database, elastic search and built-in mechanisms to enforce data standards.

Arches project has been accepted into Google Summer of Code!

Tags:   Asset Management,   Cultural Resources,   Database,   Open Source,   Web Mapping

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