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Creating and Curating Geographic Knowledge with INdicio

All of us make decisions about places. Where should we go for a holiday? What should we see? What should we do when we get there?

For some, the decisions are much weightier with far-reaching consequences. Will the new office development increase pollution in the harbour? Does the planned redevelopment in the downtown core reduce the heat island effect? Where are there opportunities in our city for passive ventilation? If there is a significant earthquake tomorrow what critical infrastructure is at risk? Where will shelter be needed? Where will shelter be available?

To make effective decisions about places, we need to understand them. We need to capture our knowledge, including geographic knowledge, in ways that really assist with decision-making, and we need to be able to shape our knowledge in ways that are driven by the kinds of decisions we need to make.

But what is geographic knowledge? And how do we acquire and maintain it?

For many enterprises, geographic knowledge (also known as location intelligence) is a key part of their business. For commercial enterprises, such knowledge is critical to their competitive position. For governments, geographic knowledge underpins their ability to deliver services to their citizens, both in normal times and in times of crisis. For all enterprises, both private and public, accumulated geographic knowledge is a critical resource.

Knowledge begins with the identification and characterization of things. What kinds of things are there? Where are they located? What things are nearby? What properties best describe these things? In what different ways might these things be categorized? How might that depend on our decision space or application domain?

Galdos offers a new platform for the construction and maintenance of geographic knowledge. INdicio™ enables the capture, classification, and description of geographic things, and allows them to be classified in many different ways with multiple classification schemes.

However, simply identifying and locating things is not sufficient. We also need to express the relationships between these things. Some of these relationships are spatial or topological. Many are not. A building may be located inside a police district. The same building may carry a radar dish and thus be related to the vessel traffic management for a harbour. Being able to express the rich set of logical interconnections between things (spatial or otherwise) is a key component of geographic knowledge.

Relationships between things may also be at the level of the properties of those things. Think about the example: “decreased ground permeability (a property of a region) leads to increased harbour pollution (a property of the harbour).

INdicio easily supports the creation and exploration of relationships between objects, both at the object level and at the property level. Different types of relationships can be used to connect objects at different levels and, once connected, any object will lead you to all related objects through those connections. INdicio treats relationships as objects, so that the relationships themselves add additional layers of meaning to objects.

For most enterprises, the acquisition and maintenance of geographic knowledge is only achieved over time. Observations must be acquired and analyzed. Feature objects must be identified, described, classified, and related to one another. Dynamic simulations of business processes need to be developed and integrated. It is an ongoing process. The information itself may in large measure be dynamic, and evolve significantly through the process of knowledge capture, becoming increasingly rich and variegated.

INdicio provides full life cycle status management for geographic and non-geographic things alike. It supports the description, classification, and association of all sorts of existing assets such as documents, images, and drawings. It also enables the construction of knowledge from existing databases and file collections, without so much as moving a pixel.

INdicio allows information assets to be thought of in new ways. Not only can assets be identified, described, and categorized, but they can be associated with other things in different ways and at different levels. Over time, the information stored in INdicio provides increasingly accurate and rich knowledge on which to base better decision making.

So… returning to our original thought… wouldn’t it be easier to decide where to go for your holiday if you had INdicio to tell you what places of interest you will pass on your way there, what fun and interesting places there are to see while you are there, and what entertainment options are within walking distance of your hotel when you’ve arrived?