Geoff Zeiss, PhD


Between the Poles

Keynote - March 5

Geospatial - A Key Technology Transforming the Construction Industry

Abstract: The effects of population growth, urbanization and climate change are motivating significant changes in how we build and maintain buildings and infrastructure. The pace of digitalization of industry is accelerating. Digitalization has transformed retail banking and airline travel and is transforming ground and maritime transportation. Construction productivity has been stagnant for decades. Construction is ripe for disruption. Two of McKinsey's five technologies that are key for this process are spatial – geospatial – including reality capture and spatial analytics - and building information modeling (BIM) – used in the AEC industry for designing and constructing buildings and infrastructure. LiDAR and phodar scanning and BIM have already significant penetration in the construction industry. Software for comparing BIM models to point clouds are already being used in construction. Automated feature extraction from point clouds with the assistance of machine learning are beginning to appear in consumer and professional products. Mixed reality is enabling stakeholders and AEC designers to collaborate in ways that were not possible a couple of years ago. Satellite remote sensing advances are becoming relevant for construction. The latest commercial satellites are capable of foot resolution. Highly accurate digital terrain models can now be generated from space. Constellations of satellites can capture the entire earth every day enabling daily tracking of construction projects. Satellites equipped with interferometry can detect sub-centimeter movements in the earth's surface. Improvements in subsurface remote-sensing sensors and software, standards and shared databases are enabling the efficient mapping of underground geology and infrastructure. The major challenge the AEC and geospatial industries must jointly address is integrating building information models (BIM) and geospatial infrastructure and building models. Important differences with the attempt to integrate CAD and GIS 20 years ago provide grounds for optimism that efforts to integrate BIM and geospatial will be more successful.

Bio: Geoff has been tracking the contribution of geospatial technology to the digitization of construction, operation and maintenance of energy, building and transportation infrastructure in his blog “Between The Poles” since 2007. From 2014 to 2016 Geoff was Editor for Energy and Building with Geospatial Media. Prior to that Geoff was responsible for thought leadership, evangelization, and industry messaging for the utility industry program at Autodesk. Geoff Zeiss has more than 20 years experience in the geospatial IT industry working with utilities, communications, and public works in enterprise IT around the world. In his early career, he was responsible for some of the largest successful implementations of location-aware enterprise design and records management software in the utility and telecommunications sectors. In 2004, he received a Global Technology Award from Oracle Corporation for technical innovation and leadership in the use of Oracle. In recognition of his efforts to increase the awareness of geospatial data and technologies in utilities and construction, Geoff received the Geospatial Ambassador Award at Geospatial World Forum 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. He has actively supported open standards and is a director of the Open Geospatial Consortium.

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