Geospatial technology, its role and importance within the IT structure in the Transportation Departments.

Geospatial Technology. Conceived as all the technology used to acquire, manage, analyze, visualize and disseminate both the data and the information referred to the location of an object, has transcended its initial conception of triad composed essentially of GIS, GPS and Remote Sensing (RS in English) incorporating those emerging technologies that use a geographic component (eg, geofencing) in a context in which, among other reasons, "technologies end up integrating and their limits are increasingly diffuse"

In fact, after reflections on the Evolution of GIS, the terms related to him and the required professionals in this area; it seems clear that we should now move to the "field of action" and discuss situations real in which those concepts are applied.

I return, then, to read the article by Bruce Aquila in order to extract the key words with which the article should start today. I extract three (3) and I can start:

Evolution. WebGIS (the GIS that makes use of the Web technologies) presented as the change pattern of a GIS in which the components of the system (Hardware, Software, data and users) no longer need to be all physically In the same place but, through this new development, the information presented to the user is easily, quickly and inexpensively accessible using the necessary protocols and standards that allow the connection and exchange of the components. This way of "serving" the information is what allows the WebGIS momentum on the Internet and is known as Web Services.

Without forgetting that the WebGIS can be implemented in several ways: in the cloud, locally or as a combination of both according to the case, which is, at present, essential for our work.

Convenience. In entities such as the Department of Transportation of any governmental entity, where the location is the primary raw material of work, results crucial generate results that allow adequate decision making in tasks and projects related to operations, road routes, safety, engineering and conservation, among other fields.

We infer that the geospatial technology used is fundamental in this process. But, and given that, both the creation of Web Services and the implementation of WebGIS in any of its forms refers to the use of IT ("Techies" in between) it is valid to ask in which division of the department (DOT in English) Would geospatial technology be more appropriate to contribute to that successful decision-making and to an efficient process?

Aquila, in his articulo This question arises because, as we will infer later, it actually suggests a change and makes his reasons for it.

"Traditionally, this technology resided in the planning division", he adds, adding that this is due, among other reasons, to its role as analysis tool in decision making and its main function in covering the multiple needs for mapping .

First argument

However, Aquila continues, as space technologies evolve, they began to integrate much into the DBMS. Thus DBMS such as Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and PostgreSQL serve as support for native spatial data stores, further narrowing the tendency to incorporate spatial concepts into DOT IT architecture.

Second argument

"Additionally, the DOTs use a large number of web services to take advantage of that valued data stored in the databases," the author continues, then argued that "taking into account the cyber attacks so prevalent today, IT departments should have a strict control over the different types and uses of the web services implemented "with which it deduces that this would be another factor that would favor the" displacement "towards the IT division of the DOT.

Let us emphasize one point of his analysis, the possibility of change in the desktop platforms used since there is an evident diminution of the "dependence of the space technology of desktop"; due to the proliferation of web services that reduces budgets, focusing on the use of desktop software for "weighing analysis functions".

Third argument

The emergence of cloud programming also has an influence on integration into the IT structure. This is because DOTs are beginning to consider building applications in the cloud. Considering here as a key factor the management of fullfilment of security requirements which obviously concerns the IT department. In this context, he indicates, a previous analysis is required to decide where accommodate the applications generated: internally or by making use of "cloud-based commercial computing services". Let us add that this theme has been the reason for lecture made by Aquila and other experts we suggest reading for those wishing to expand on this point.


What Aquila proposes in particular is the "displacement" of throughout concerning geospatial technology to the IT area of ​​the DOT for the reasons given above.

Aware that this change will generate resistances and struggles to avoid the loss of control from traditional headquarters; the change, if it occurs, will require a period of acceptance by the "affected" entities. Therefore, he concludes that "everything must be done for the benefit of the great common good".

We conclude this comment, in an open way, by asking the following questions:

Do we agree with the author?

Do we know what the hierarchical organization of a DOT is in our area?

What do we think about it?

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