Your International Geospatial Briefing for January 13th: US Restricts Export of AI Related to Geospatial Imagery; Momentum Grows During Preparation for Geo Connect Asia 2020; UofG Students Killed in Iranian Plane Tragedy; BIM: How Important Is It For General Contractors?; Elements for improving underground utility mapping to reduce risk of damage during construction
US Restricts Export of AI Related to Geospatial Imagery
On January 3rd 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security announced that as of January 6th, they would restrict the export of AI related technologies. James Lewis, a representative from the Center for Strategic and International Studies stated that “[they want] to keep American companies from helping the Chinese make better AI products that can help their military”.
While the United States try to have more control over these technologies in order to avoid aiding other companies in terms of military advantage; it will be interesting to see how these restrictions will affect the American tech industry long term.
Momentum Grows During Preparation for Geo Connect Asia 2020
March will mark the first-ever Geo Connect Asia, and with it only being 2 months away, people are getting excited!
The organizers recently announced the first wave of speakers and exhibitors. The list of exhibitors includes Trimble as Platinum Sponsor, Vexcel Imaging GmbH and Orbital Insight. Their keynote speaker is Dr James Crawford, CEO of California-based geospatial analytics giant Orbital Insight.
The upcoming event is March 18-19 2020 and is expected to attract over 2,000 field related individuals. To register or learn more, click here.
UofG Students Killed in Iranian Plane Tragedy
On Friday January 10th, The University of Guelf held a vigil for the two PhD students that were killed in the Iranian plane tragedy.
The two students were Azhdari and Ariani. Azhdari was a student in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics. Ariani was a student in the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies.
BIM: How Important Is It For General Contractors?
Marty Waisbrod, the President and CEO of Promont, a NYC-based general contracting firm, discusses the importance of using building information modeling (BIM) for all of his jobs.
The BIM system allows for “[their] teams to visualize everything before [they] build it… It allows [them] to detect any possible clashes when they’re still on paper… [It allows them to] create real-life drive-throughs of the job so that both ownership and [the] management teams can see and feel what the project will look like. This helps ownership see if there is something that bothers them so they can choose to fix it before [they] start the work”. Prior to using this system, his company had to heavily rely on designers, architects and engineers to coordinate their drawings. This often resulted in finding mistakes when its too late.
Although this may seem like an obvious tool that all General Contractors should use, there are some cons to consider. BIM is an expensive, large and complex platform. Nevertheless, Marty Waisbrod states that to him it is worth the investment for any project the firm contracts, no matter the size.
Elements for improving underground utility mapping to reduce risk of damage during construction
About once a month or so, the American news reports on explosions caused by “damage to underground utilities during construction excavation”. In the last 20 years, the United States has had over 400 deaths and 2000 injuries due to hitting underground infrastructure during excavations. There is a lack of correct and usable data on the location of underground infrastructure. This issue is not only a safety concern but increases the risk of budget overruns and project timeline extensions. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that this results in a $50 billion drag on the economy.
Geoff Zeiss, a Geospatial Tech expert, has compiled information of 25 jurisdictions that have implemented policies and structures for sharing information on the location of underground infrastructure. With this information, Geoff Zeiss has put together a “synthesis of measures most of which have been implemented, are being implemented, or have undergone pilot implementations.” He was then able to broadly categorise this information into the following:
- Reliable statistics on underground utility damage
- Policies, procedures, and technologies for raising the level of accuracy, timeliness and completeness of information about the location of underground infrastructure.
- Digitalizing the capture, sharing and updating of location information about underground infrastructure.
- Ensuring security and privacy of location information about underground networks including protection for competitive information.
- Providing access to stakeholders to underground infrastructure location information throughout the construction project life-cycle from planning and design through construction to operations and maintenance.
- Liability model for sharing responsibility for costs of underground utility damage.
There are multiple steps and categories that need to be taken into consideration in order to reduce risk, but his experience has shown that overtime, implementing his categories will result in better data, and a more accurate digital representation of the location of underground infrastructure.