Esri’s GeoAI helps in discovering patterns and relationships between different kinds of datasets. The combination of AI and spatial analysis is helping industries to simulate outcomes in diverse scenarios, and it’s evolving in fascinating ways. Mr. Agendra Kumar, MD, Esri India shares more insights on the same.
Question 1- Elaborate on the importance of Indian market with reference to the adoption of geospatial technologies? What is the trend that you foresee in the upcoming years?
India is one of the fastest growing economies with a high focus on infrastructure development, urbanization, agriculture, water sector development, climate change, etc. These are some of the sectors that also make use of geospatial technologies. GIS provides a framework for understanding the real ground-level situation and making decisions, taking action, and also evaluating the impact of the actions taken. A GIS-based framework is very important to address the priorities that we have as a country.
In terms of trends, the Government of India announced new geospatial data guidelines in February 2021. These guidelines have removed a lot of restrictions, which were there on geospatial data collection, creation, storage, and dissemination. Such a positive change in the policy environment is leading to higher data creation and higher adoption of GIS. For instance, the creation of 3D data is helping a lot of private sector organizations in building new applications, especially in areas like 5G deployment.
Secondly, I see that GIS technology is helping decision-makers, both in the government and private sectors, in using location-based analytics and integration with other business systems. It’s now becoming an inter-connected environment, where GIS accesses data from many sources and systems, helps in analysis and feeds data to different business systems. Looking at this kind of connectivity, people are preferring to move to Cloud and want to host their GIS infrastructure on Cloud, so that it becomes easier for them to scale up, scale down, manage and have better connectivity with other systems.
Thirdly, we are witnessing a higher integration of Machine Learning and GIS. ArcGIS has a lot of built-in capabilities for AI/ML, which enable our users to run different kinds of analytics on the data. Machine learning capabilities help them in tasks like feature extraction from images or videos and extracting data from different kinds of tabular or textual information. Many new capabilities are also getting developed in this realm.
Question 2- What are the key technologies, products and innovations that Esri India is offering in the Indian market?
I would like to talk about three things here. One, we launched Indo ArcGIS last year which is growing. We are adding more solution products to Indo ArcGIS and adding more data layers to that. Currently, we have more than 630 data layers and some of these data layers are not commonly available. This brings a lot of value to our user community. Some of the examples are – data layers about road networks, especially in rural areas, railway stations, railway tracks, etc. This data can significantly help in logistics like the movement of goods through railways. We’ve also put-together accurate information about the boundaries at different levels by working with various government organizations. Some of these data sets are important for a variety of geospatial applications, not only in the government sector but also in the private sector. These data layers are part of our ‘Living Atlas’ and are hosted on a Cloud in India.
Secondly, ArcGIS facilitates the creation of GeoHubs within organizations. These GeoHubs are getting extensively used across sectors like disaster management, smart cities, healthcare, etc. They bring communities together. GeoHubs are being adopted by cities, government bodies and businesses to ensure that they can share the data internally as well as externally with relevant stakeholders.
The third one is advanced geospatial analytics which is built into ArcGIS. It includes predictive modeling, real-time spatial-temporal analysis, GeoAI, Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics. These are required by our users because they like to realize the full value of the data they have in their organizations. They want to use that data and analytics to find new trends and patterns and understand the correlation between different datasets. Advance spatial analytics helps them achieve this.
Question 3: Government occupies the major pie in terms of customers and projects. What are some of the GIS solutions being offered by Esri India?
Government organizations form a large GIS user base. We’ve been working with the government sector for a very long time. Many powerful solutions have been deployed to address the challenges that we face as a country, some of the examples are – tackling the issue of deforestation, water scarcity, climate change, healthcare, urbanization, disaster management, etc. For instance, Smart Cities use GIS-based solutions for the management of both solid and liquid waste management, water distribution, maintenance of city infrastructure, smart parking and smart lighting etc. Some of these solutions are part of Indo ArcGIS. Some of the leading telecommunication companies are already using ArcGIS technology.
Question 4: What are your key verticals in focus? Share details about the projects where you are actively working.
We are focused on many verticals like telecommunication, manufacturing, insurance, financial services, and retail, which are mostly in the private sector, and then we have utilities, both in the private and government sectors. We have a large focus on electric, gas and water utilities. Most of the electric utilities and many City Gas Distribution companies are using Esri’s ArcGIS for managing their distribution networks. We also focus on the natural resources segment, which includes mining, water resources, forest departments, oil and gas companies. Urban development is another key area where municipal corporations, other ULBS and smart cities are large users of our technology. ‘Swamitva’ is one of the key large projects under the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
Question 5: How new gen technologies like AI, ML and others are helping to improve GIS technology?
Esri has a lot of focus on using AI and machine learning, some of the capabilities are built within ArcGIS. We call it GeoAI. GeoAI helps in discovering patterns and relationships between different kinds of datasets. Through ArcGIS, we are offering a number of ready-to-use models that work with both vector and tabular data, imagery and text. We also integrate many open science libraries like Python and TensorFlow in applications like auto-detection and tracking of vehicles, point cloud classification, object detection, land cover classification, feature extraction, etc. This combination of AI and spatial analysis is helping industries to simulate outcomes in diverse scenarios, and it’s evolving in fascinating ways.