Tech Update 2019 Q2 from OGC CTO, George Percivall
2 August 2019
This CTO Update describes technological advances in the previous quarter with a focus on how these advances support the OGC Tech Strategy.
Working with OGC Members, we establish the OGC Technology Strategy and coordinate the strategy with the programs of the Consortium. A key part of the strategy is tracking technology trends that might affect which activities OGC will undertake. The OGC Architecture Board (OAB) plays a key role in the strategy and the development of the OGC Standards Baseline. Overall the strategy balances innovation and standards.
OGC Tech Trends
The OGC innovation strategy includes maintaining the OGC Standards Baseline while simultaneously addressing trends in technology and markets. The OGC Tech Trends activity surveys and characterizes trends across information and communication technology as well as the science and technologies that support the collection, processing, and understanding of geospatial information. The Tech Trends approach was developed based on a survey of technology forecasting methods, e.g., Persistent Forecasting of Disruptive Technologies, US National Academies. The products of the Tech Trends activity are updated and posted on a public Github page every quarter.
The quarterly update provides revisions of the OGC Tech Trends Mindmap and characterizations of Emerging Trends. For the 2nd quarter of 2019, these emerging trends were the focus of more attention.
- Data Science and Analytics: We are in a golden aga of data science (see below). A Location Powers: Data Science summit will be held in November 2019 at Google.
- UAVs and Drones: 1 Million drones were registered in the USA as of 2018 (as per US Dept Transportation), and there is Increasing government legislation to register these devices. The OGC UxS Domain Working Group (DWG) is very active.
- Edge and Fog Computing: OGC white paper on "The Role of Geospatial in Edge-Fog-Cloud Computing” was a reference for the “Mixed Reality to the Edge Workshop” held at SOFWERX in April 2019.
- Web of Data (Linked Data, Property Graphs): There was progress earlier this year on Property Graphs query languages standards which points to the need for geospatial involvement.
- Digital Twin: Static and Dynamic: combines IoT, cyber- physical systems (CPS), 3D modeling, simulation, and AI, and lies at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution.
- Modeling, Simulation and Prediction: Very exciting space that sees the convergence of: Gaming and Simulation, Built Environment Modeling, and Predictive Earth System Models.
To identify trends that warrant further investigation, a Priority Tech Trends Quad Chart is created. The graphic displays an assessment of the trends considering two criteria: Impact and Horizon. Impact is either Sustaining or Disruptive. Horizon is either Next or After Next. Some of the trends are already being addressed in OGC with a horizon of Now. Several of the Next trends, such as Machine Learning and Blockchain, are not a priority here as they are already being addressed in the OGC Standards Program and OGC Innovation Program. Further detail on the Tech Trends is documented in the OGC Technology Forecast: 2019Q2 report. The report is provided to OGC Strategic and Principal members and available to other organizations upon on request.
Technology Forecasting Survey
Research by Roger Brackin is relevant to the OGC Tech Trends activity. In Taming Disruption? Pervasive Data Analytics, Uncertainty and Policy Intervention in Disruptive Technology and its Geographic Spread, Roger describes how theories of technology progression may be integrated. Further, he considers whether suitable indicators of this progression, and any subsequent disruptive effects, might be derived based on the use of big data analytic techniques. In the paper, Roger describes a use case and an experiment in disruption prediction, looking at the geographical spread of disruption using internet derived historic data. Roger’s research offers a glimpse into the potential indicators and how they might be used to measure disruption - hinting at what might be possible using big data approaches.
Roger presented in the OAB meeting during the June '19 OGC Technical Committee meetings on Technology Forecasting – Towards and Automated Approach. During that presentation, Roger announced a Technology Forecasting Survey intended to gain feedback on the potential value of technology forecasting and understand what the overall needs and attitudes are among the OGC Community.
We invite you to complete the Technology Forecasting Survey. Your input will really help focus horizon scanning activities as well as provide valuable input to Roger's PHD work. Please feel free to pass the link on to other communities who you think might be interested.
OGC Architecture Board
The fifteen elected individuals of the OAB are some of the most active OGC members. The OAB meets at least every two weeks by telecon and twice during each Technical Committee week. Over the last quarter, the OGC Architecture Board discussed progress on these documents:
- OGC Abstract Specification Topic 0: Overview
- OGC Symbology Conceptual Model Core
- SensorML 2.1
The OGC also discussed the following issues, which affect the development of OGC documents and activities:
- Technology Forecasting – Towards an Automated Approach
- Harmonization Guidance (tradeoffs, bridges/facades)
- Python implementations for geospatial
- Features and Geometry: Part 2: Metrics
Golden age of Data Science
Data Science is in a Golden Age - this was the theme of a presentation I made in several settings earlier this year. The Golden Age is a mythological era in which peace and harmony prevailed, people did not have to work to feed themselves, for the earth provided food in abundance. Currently we are in an age of data abundance and highly available computing resources, i.e., the golden age of data science. My presentation began with well known statistics about big data and data abundance. The presentation then addressed three aspects of geospatial data science:
- Data Representation: “To carry out data analysis, a good representation of data is priceless.” - US National Academies
- Data Analytics: The “4th Paradigm” of science is data analytics - Jim Grey
- Applications and Benefits – The Power of Location
Thanks to Professor Shaowen Wang for prompting and hosting my presentation as part of the University of Illinois Geospatial Data Science Distinguished Speaker Series (slides) and for Professor Sean Ahern hosting the presentation as part of the Hunter College CUNY GeoInformatics Seminar series (slides). The themes of the presentation will be address in depth in the upcoming Location Powers: Data Science summit in November 2019.