The Changing World of Imagery
Doucett: “All these great possibilities put increased strain on our current imagery infrastructure. To look at that in more detail, we’re seeing both larger and increasing numbers of individual data sets as we add more bands to our collection technology. [We’re seeing] increased specificity of data needs, like having both leaf on and leaf off data sets. But we also have more users as more departments start to see the value that imagery can add to their workflow. With more users comes an increase in the number of platforms that users want to access your data through. Different departments are experienced in different software or different technologies, each needing their own unique demands. Lastly, all of this comes at the cost of increased bandwidth on top of the existing demands to your IT infrastructure. ”
Aerial imagery is a valuable resource. As it becomes more integral to both commercial and government use, demands on existing imagery infrastructure will only increase. Markets like real estate, agriculture, engineering, and more are rapidly making aerial imagery a key part of their business. While more usage of aerial imagery can help inform policy and improve applications, many providers of aerial imagery are unequipped to address this growing demand.
Traditional approaches to imagery may require a dedicated server to host the data, users to have certain kinds of software, or even for users to store a complete copy of the data themselves. Furthermore, imagery requires intensive processing power. The ability to process imagery data can also be restricted by network issues such as internet speeds. Additionally, traditional approaches need significant investment into physical infrastructure to be able to hold and use data securely. These limitations quickly become barriers to data sharing and collaboration.
Cloud Hosting and the Future of Imagery
Doucett: ”One [advantage] that gets overlooked frequently is security. Cloud providers are investing in the best security out there, with redundancy and protection built in from the start. And as we’ve heard stories of ransomware and malware, especially turning their sights on the public sector, you have really valuable data and the cost of not being able to access it is huge. The cloud solves that problem. The next area we’ve seen a huge advantage come from is the cost perspective. Compared to on premises storage, cloud storage is becoming increasingly more affordable with more choices available in this area as well. We’re working with the same technology to host some of the most critical applications that AppGeo’s developed and have some really strong results even in the aftermath of disasters like hurricane Harvey, our tools and our supporting organizations have stayed online through those demands.”
Cloud hosting of aerial imagery offers improved security and user access at a reduced cost. The technology behind hosting data on the cloud is scalable and fast, allowing for far more users to have access to the data without the limitations of traditional approaches. The cost of hosting and securing the data is offloaded to the 3rd party host, saving money on physical infrastructure even while expanding reach.
For imagery in particular, cloud storage is far more efficient and fast because of “tiling.” Tiling breaks down larger images into more manageable pieces, which are downloaded simultaneously. This makes dealing with vast amounts of data far easier and less likely to cause processing issues, a common problem with imagery data.
Giza, developed by AppGeo, is an application that provides tile-serving to help link your imagery data in the cloud with your existing applications, increasing efficiency and scalability. Giza currently supports 7 state imagery implementations and far more county level and private projects. This product has compatibility with most mapping applications, leading mapping APIs, and CAD. By strategically caching data, Giza increases efficiency and reduces load times for imagery. With lower load times, both task efficiency and user satisfaction are greatly increased.
Click here to learn more about Giza!