Geospatial Visualisation & Analysis

Geospatial Visualisation and analysis is an key element in enabling Location Intelligence in organisations.  Geo-enriched data provides a spatial dimension to customer and supplier trends and business operations, generally enhancing business intelligence. In addition, visualising real-time sensor data provides a high level of situational awareness that enables businesses and other entities to respond  quicker to opportunities, risk and environmental threats. The quality of situational awareness is significantly enhanced if real-time sensor data is displayed within historical pattern context. It allows for the early identification of anomalies, outliers and weak signals, enabling a high degree of mindfulness in organisations - a mindfulness to respond timeously and adequately to opportunities and threats in your own operational environment.

Geospatial Visualisation and Analysis of sensor and geo-enriched data has support requirements in various focus areas depending on the actual use-cases. These focus areas are:
Real-time geospatial visualisation interfaces and frameworks
Geospatial analytical systems and desktop GIS applications
Geospatially enabled data storage systems and applications
Geospatial Content Management Systems and content servers
Spatial survey workflow, management and tasking systems
To support these focus areas, we have selected the best open source geospatial software systems within our solution framework to meet our customers' Location Intelligence requirements.
We use QGIS as our premier desk top geospatial analysis tool for powerful location analytics. It is an excellent tool for crime trend mapping and analysis and integrates seamlessly as a GIS tool within our IoT Stack architecture.
Both QGIS and gvSIG have very good remote sensing as well as LiDAR support:
gvSIG is an open source multi-language desk top Geographic Information System.  It is also platform independent and interoperable with most known data formats. Functionality includes geoprocessing tools, advanced integrated CAD tools, 3D visualisation and network analysis. The gvSIG product suite includes gvNIX, a tool for rapid web application development and gvSIG Mobile, which is focussed on projects requiring field data capture.
QGIS is an open source, platform independent, Geographic Information System. It runs on Windows, Linux, Unix, Mac OSX and Android. It is a versatile desktop GIS system suited to enterprise use. QGIS supports 2700 coordinate reference systems and uses a GDAL/OGR library to write geospatial data formats. It supports in excess of 70 vector formats. Raster processing is exceptionally strong with tools included such as GRASS, SAGA and QGIS geo-algorithms.  More than 100 raster formats are supported including ERDAS IMAGINE, ArcInfo Binary Grid and ArcInfo ASCII Grid. QGIS is an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) data client and supports OGC specifications such as WMS, WMTS, WFS, WFS-T, WCS, SFS and GML.
 

QGIS has strong geoprocessing capabilities on par with commercial GIS products. It has over 400 functionality extending plug-ins. Some of its real strengths are related to its remote sensing tools. The Semi-automatic classification plug-inn allows for the downloading of Landsat imagery and classification thereof in a semi-automatic way.
LAStools for QGIS
DielmoOpenLiDAR for gvSIG
Geoserver is an OGC compliant server that allows the viewing and editing of geospatial data. It incorporates standards such as  Web Feature Service (WFS), Web Map Service (WMS), and Web Coverage Service (WCS). Additional standards supported include the Web Map Tile Service (WMTS), Web Processing Service (WPS) and extensions to the Catalogue Service. Furthermore, the Openlayers mapping layer is also integrated into Geoserver which enables swift and easy map generation in a large variety of formats. Geoserver can serve spatial data in vector and raster format and connect to GIS applications such as QGIS and ESRI amongst other. Geoserver is a key element in many of our solutions - in specific the serving of geospatial intelligence products to purpose built geospatial visualisation environments on the Cesium framework. GeoServer is distributed under the GNU General Public License Version 2.0.
GeoNode is an open source geospatial content management system for publication and management of geospatial data. It has a focus on  non-specialized GIS users to share data and create interactive maps. Standard content management components allow for the creation of data, meta-data and map visualisations including rating systems and access rights.  Standard meta-data formats such as ISO 19139:2007 and Dublin Core are also supported.  Users may upload geospatial elements in both vector (ESRI Shapefile) and raster (GeoTIFF) formats.  Spatial information elements in Geonode are searchable geographically or via keywords.

All the maps and layers are re-projected for display to Web Mercator in other base layers. Geonode is an excellent tool for managing and serving finished geospatial intelligence products to end-users with a low level of expertise in GIS applications in a wide range of market areas and applications. It allows for a degree of flexibility in that it provides a mechanism for end-user to select which layers and elements they want to display in a geospatial visualisation environment.
Cesium is an open-source Javascript library for world-class 2D maps and 3D globes focussing on the display of static and time-dynamic content.  It was founded by Analytical Graphic, Inc. (AGI) in 2011 as a cross-platform 3D mapping application for dynamic data visualisation in the defence and space industries. The success of Cesium as a 3D globe, in a wide variety of applications and industries, has been tremendous. It is a fitting tribute to AGI as a company in specific, and the open source community in general. Solutions have been built to serve geo-spatial, oil and gas, agriculture and forrestry, defence and intelligence, safety and security, real estate, sport and entertainment industries.

Cesium is able to visualise high-resolution global terrain, incorporate layer imagery from multiple sources including industry standard vector formats such as KML, GeoJSON and TopoJSON.  A wide variety of geometries can be drawed and styled in the application such as polylines, billboards, labels, points, circles, ellipses, spheres, ellipsoids and polyline volumes and walls to name a few.

Widgets are available in Cesium for controlling simulation time, base-layer picking for imagery, geocoding for flying to landmarks and addresses, default views, toggling between 2D, 3D and Columbus views and many more.  Furthermore, Cesium can provide High-Precision Mathematics and Time  functionality, a critical component  to some IoT solutions. These include:
Reference frames like World Geodetic System (WGS84) and International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF)
Equidistant Cylindrical and Mercator 2D map projections
Longitude/latitude/height to Cartesian conversions
Fast Cartesian, Spherical, cartographic, matrix and quaternion type
Julian dates, leap seconds, & UTC and TAI time standards 
Cesium is a key component in most of our solutions, providing the key foundation framework on which we develop client geospatial visualisation requirements. Please view our CYGNUS system developed on Cesium as an example.
PostGIS is built on top of  PostgreSQL, a powerful object-relational open source database system.  PostGIS provides additions such as geometry, geography, raster and other to the PostgreSQL database. These additions make PostGIS as robust spatial database management system. Features include:
Vector and raster data processing and analytic functions for splicing, dicing, morphing, reclassifying, and collecting with the power of SQL
Rendering and importing vector data support functions for standard textual formats - KML,GML, GeoJSON,GeoHash and WKT using SQL
Rendering raster data in various standard formats - GeoTIFF, PNG, JPG, NetCDF using SQL
 
A variety of ETL tools can be used as it conforms to OGC mapping standards such as WMS, WFS, WCS, WPS and WMTS.  Both QGIS and gvSIG are compatible as editing or viewing tools with PostGIS.
GeoQ was initially developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as a workflow management and imagery analysis tool for disaster mapping for 1st responders. GeoQ enables 1st responders to document damage during damage surveys in a systematic manner ensuring that efforts are not duplicated. It takes into account principles of crowdsourcing allowing a community to digitize a specific area collaboratively. 

It is developed in JavaScript, Django, Python and PostgreSQL, is open source and available on GitHub. GeoQ integrates well with Geoserver, QGIS and Geonode. A variety of image and data formats are supported: RSS, KML, KMZ, JSON, GeoTIFF, WMS, GeoJSON, GPX amongst other.
We see a huge opportunity to use GeoQ in environmental and conservation projects. In this regards we are currently partnering with a reef rehabilitation NGO/NPO in using GeoQ as a reef damage assessment tool. For more information click here.
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