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Geospatial & GIS technology trends 2022

Jan 2022

Which solutions will lead the way in 2022? Up-to-date aerial images pave the way toward 3D cities, machine learning, and disaster mitigation — all in one SAAS.

Jan 2022

As we launch into 2022, we take a look at some of the enhanced capabilities in location intelligence that we predict will help us all work more efficiently and effectively.

"Ranging from increasing levels of automation to the Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, immersive technology and the rise of Digital Twins, the speed at which innovation occurs represents great opportunities and challenges to those trying to prioritize efforts."

United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management
What geospatial industry developments will help businesses and governments work smarter in 2022? We spoke to industry leaders for their view on the year ahead.

3D and Digital Twins

Phil Christensen, Vice President of Digital Cities, Reality+Spatial Modeling at Bentley Systems is looking forward to seeing infrastructure digital twin implementations accelerating from pilot project to production use. Whether it is in cities, airports, ports, transport networks, or mine sites, more people will be using 3D content to collaborate, plan, and carry out their work.
As part of that shift, Phil predicts that we will see 3D content in infrastructure digital twins being consumed in new and interesting ways, including 3D-enabled Teams meetings. “We have just released our first Teams app which enables this with 3D content from Nearmap and from others,” said Phil. “It will be exciting to see how this gets used during 2022 for engineering team meetings, virtual town hall meetings, as well as for ad-hoc meetings between those delivering new infrastructure and those they are working for and with.”
Bentley Systems CityPlanner
Agie Gilmore, GIS Analyst at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) said: “We are really looking forward to SFO GIS in 2022 with a mix of using new technologies but staying true to our fundamentals.” That approach will include the use of indoor 3D mesh, offering a 3D campus with a viewer using 3D Mesh, scan data, GIS data, and BIM. SFO also plans to monitor and manage underground utilities via 3D and AR and to host an internal SFO GIS website using ArcGIS Hub with a 3D viewer.
San Francisco Airport Panel Condition

Machine Learning

Machine learning continues to boost analysis by overcoming time-consuming manual processes.
In its report, Future trends in geospatial technology & information management: the five to ten year vision, the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) acknowledges “…training models to classify objects in aerial imagery, such as buildings, roof tops, roof types, solar panels, street furniture and further data at street level, to achieve fully automatic change detection of all changes in the built and natural environment over the long-term.”
Machine-learning algorithms uncover patterns and identify change in a fraction of the time it would take humans to process. This frees teams to focus on complex, business-critical tasks and problem-solving, rather than time-consuming analysis. The results of this can be seen in the outputs of the models that train Nearmap AI.

Artificial Intelligence

AI has been one of the hottest topics of the year, and Dr. Michael Bewley, Senior Director of AI Systems, Nearmap, is excited about what’s to come. He predicts one of the year’s highlights will be people moving from training their own AI models to the emergence of more robust, consistent systems that produce geospatial data.
Nearmap AI provides otherwise hidden insights that benefit multiple sectors, including local government. One such example is national tree cover analysis conducted by Nearmap that revealed Australia’s greenest residential neighborhoods. This study leveraged consistent, high resolution data covering all capital cities nationwide.
In a technical overview of the national tree cover analysis, Mike explains how petabyte-scale deep learning on aerial imagery produced rich vector maps of huge populated areas, delivering new insights into how trees interact with the built environment. (One petabyte is the equivalent of about 20-million four-drawer filing cabinets of data.)
Sheldon, QLD, with Nearmap AI Vegetation Layers
The multi-time analysis provided by Nearmap AI also adds another layer to the data. “It’s critical to use the same methodology to compare how the world is changing over time, and we’re seeing increased interest in people wanting to do just that,” said Mike.
As developing communities of users become familiar with these new data sets, and start to move from initial use, to maturing and pushing the boundaries on what can be achieved, expanded use cases of AI will emerge.

Subscription-based SAAS

Gartner predicts that by 2023, 40% of professional workers will orchestrate business application experiences and capabilities in the same way as music streaming services. Continued growth in subscription-based Software as a Service (SaaS) content delivery platforms will fulfill demand for intuitive, user-friendly interfaces. While skilled geospatial professionals will still form the core of GIS teams, SaaS platforms will allow easy access to multiple users at all levels of geospatial experience, including non-GIS users. This reduction in friction will enable smoother information flow leading to reduced time for geospatial data analytics to deliver tangible results.
For AEC and infrastructure organizations, the unit economics offered by high-quality, current and accurate imagery will nurture development planning, real-time analytics, 3D modeling — particularly for AEC designs and proposals. Nearmap will introduce a series of improved updates to the MapBrowser experience throughout 2022 starting with an improved, intuitive user interface to be released early in the year.


As climate change impacts communities and businesses across the globe, responsive organizations are implementing sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. By increasing enablement for remote work — for example, assessing, inspecting and visualizing sites using aerial imagery — businesses can reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, cutting emissions, saving time and reducing occupational health and safety risks.
In 2021, Nearmap launched an internal environmental and social responsibility strategy, Nearmap for Good, committed to the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) framework. Nearmap has initially adopted two of the UN SDG goals: Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11) and Climate Action (Goal 13). These goals will be continually reviewed and evaluated to ensure Nearmap can maintain and improve its environmental and social impact.
The City of Carmel, Indiana, is pursuing technology to capture vehicular and pedestrian traffic, smart energy usage within city facilities and infrastructure, and manage cost-effective emergency response with the city’s fire and police departments. Shane Burnham, City of Carmel GIS Technician said “Nearmap and GIS technology will play a critical role in making all of these initiatives come together.”

Disaster Mitigation and Response

Natural disaster preparedness and response relies on accurate, up-to-date geospatial data, including aerial imagery. The ability to identify at-risk zones, to visualize property boundaries, plan safe ingress and egress routes, identify hazards, calculate elevation, natural features and visualize built environment will provide insights that enhance preparedness, risk mitigation, incident response and recovery exercises. As weather-related catastrophic events increase in frequency and severity, the availability of relevant, current data will see communities better placed to prepare, respond and recover. Capturing the aftereffects of such events, Nearmap ImpactResponse will continue to provide insurers, responders and local governments with insights necessary to act quickly. In 2021, in North America some of the events captured by our ImpactResponse program included Hurricane Ida, Tropical Storm Henri, the PA and NJ Tornadoes, and the Dixie Wildfires; in Australia: the Melbourne earthquake, NSW and QLD floods, Cyclone Seroja, Queensland hailstorm, and the Perth Hills fire.
Insurers will continue to expand the use of imagery as data, to streamline every step in the insurance lifecycle — from assessment and underwriting to claims. In addition to high-resolution aerial imagery for risk evaluation and post-catastrophe assessment, insurers are also using imagery from their customers’ own devices.
Nearmap ImpactResponse Capture, Forbes, NSW Nov 2021


2022 will see an increased demand for automated workflows, from source collection to processing and application, which will be enabled by the increased processing power and speed of enhanced connectivity and data processing. To align with these demands, the Nearmap coverage footprint will continue to expand throughout 2022, delivering high resolution 5.5—7.5cm per pixel imagery and geospatial intelligence via the cloud — a data source that the UN-GGIM says will “continue to play an important part in national aerial survey programs in the foreseeable future”.

The 2022 Outlook

Location data and geospatial insights play a key role in providing insights for businesses working remotely. With more data being gathered from more sources (such as IoT sensors, aerial surveys, smart devices), organizations can plan to work with near real-time insights. Intuitive, easy-to-use platforms such as Nearmap MapBrowser, fulfill the need for subscription-based access to reliable, current data.
Benjamin Grant said: “In 2022, I’m looking forward to diving deeper on some of the newer technologies from Nearmap — such the ability to visualize and extract more information with AI layers or seeing what’s possible once HyperCamera3 comes online. With even more resolution, I’m excited to make it possible for my audience to see our world in even greater detail.”
As organizations shift to hybrid remote-physical working models, the availability of accurate, current imagery helps streamline workflows, enabling remote site inspections, assessments and analysis, saving time and increasing efficiencies. With speed of innovation, and rapid uptake across multiple sectors, we’re excited to see what can be achieved in 2022.
To make Nearmap part of your plans, get in touch today to book a demo.
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