GIS and Big Data

Seminar Session

Where, what, why, when? This is a challenging and highly informative session. It begins with a keynote from one of the foremost internationally recognised authorities on the topic. Should we be re-branding ourselves? What are the key technologies driving and delivering data? The growing role of Linked Data and internationally agreed standards is examined through two projects and the results they have delivered.

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Session Programme: 12:00 - 13:00

12:00 - 12:20 Wed 23   Theatre 1

KEYNOTE: The place of location in the big data world

Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, Director, Location International Ltd

So what actually is Big Data? Who determines what is included and what is not? These questions and their answers are variable. Looking through the eyes of different people and different organisations, helps create the answers. However, it is only now that many realise that the ‘where’ question is so vital to all Big Data to give it validity and to ensure the information from the analysis relates to real people based in real places. In this presentation, examples will be used to illustrate the issues and a challenge will be made as to when is data analytics really geospatial analysis? Should we be re-branding ourselves as geo-data scientists?

Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, HonFREng, FRGS, FRICS, FCInstCES, FRSGS, CCMI, CGeog is working internationally as a senior advisor to governments, inter-governmental organisations including the World Bank and large private sector organisations.


She is a Director of Location International Ltd which provides strategic advice and full operational capacity globally, to the public and private sector, as to how to gain from improving their own use of location information to enhance their decision-making and to meet the ever changing needs of their customers and stakeholders.


In addition, Vanessa is a Non-Executive Director of the Satellite Applications Catapult, on the Advisory Boards of Seraphim Space LLP, the Space venture capital fund backed by the British Business Bank, and the Urban Big Data Centre, on the Steering Committee Member of IPP CommonSensing to support the Governments of Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to build resilience to the impacts of climate change and to improve access to climate finance, a Trustee of the Royal Geographical Society, the Honorary Colonel of 135 Geographic Squadron Royal Engineers, Honorary Vice-President of the Geographical Association, a Patron of MapAction and holds Visiting Professor positions at two UK Universities.


From 2000-2014, she was the Director General and CEO Ordnance Survey, Britain’s National Mapping Authority and the advisor to the British Government for issues involving mapping, surveying and geographic information. She is the longest serving Director General and CEO of Ordnance Survey since 1875.


From 2011-2015, she was a founding co-chair of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM).


Prior to joining the Civil Service, she held senior roles with the billion-dollar American software company, Autodesk and also the global media and publishing company, Pearson plc.

12:20 - 12:40 Wed 23   Theatre 1

Geospatial production – what are the challenges and how is Ordnance Survey overcoming them?

Matt Tobin, Field Lead Consultant, Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey provides countrywide geospatial data: presenting the real world to customers through multiple datasets. This presentation explores the problems OS’s production team of geospatial surveyors face and the solutions developed. Maintaining an accurate representation of the real-world relies on detecting change to our built environment. Learn how OS’s change intelligence team manipulate data from various sources to improve and maintain datasets and how we analyse vector data to enrich obscured topographic detail. We will show how OS’s production team are exploring laser scanning to model geometry from point clouds and use Smartphone GIS to add attribution.

I’ve got over ten years experience in geospatial production at Ordnance Survey. I am passionate about developing, tools, systems and people to deliver geospatial products that can drive change and a more connected world. The future is now and as part of OS Field GB it is important that we are part of it and I am committed to leading the Field team in to new spaces such as 3D capture, sensed data, real time mapping and smartphone data capture. Through this seminar I will demonstrate how we are using new technology and processes to deliver more value and depth in our data and how implement this across our teams. I am excited about the future impact of geospatial data and our teams are developing in line with delivering production and this will be a great chance to showcase that and welcome challenge and opportunities.

12:40 - 13:00 Wed 23   Theatre 1

From OWL to GeoSPARQL – using linked data concepts to blend and analyse geospatial data

Hans Viehmann, Product Manager, EMEA, Oracle Corporation

This session will provide the fundamentals of Linked Data in conjunction with geospatial information. The use of Linked Data has become increasingly important, especially in the context of open data initiatives, but also in eGovernment projects. This approach makes data more easily consumable by providing context with each dataset in a standardized way. Semantic interoperability is addressed besides simple technical interoperability and enables the conflation of data from diverse sources as well as deriving knowledge by means of reasoning. Linked Data platforms are storing data as triples which when taken together constitute a graph. These technologies are based on well-established W3C standards such as RDF, OWL or the query language SPARQL.

Hans Viehmann is working for ORACLE Corporation as Product Manager for the Oracle Spatial and Graph technologies both on the database as well as the Big Data platforms. He holds a degree in Physics from Hamburg University and started his career in Research before joining ORACLE over twenty years ago. After various positions in Presales and Business Development he joined the Product Management Team in 2011 and since then represents the Oracle Spatial and Graph Development Team in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In this role he is looking after strategic projects and partnerships, the marketing activities, as well as the internal awareness around the Spatial and Graph technologies in the region. He is a regular speaker at conferences and user group events and serves on the advisory board of InGeoForum, Germany.

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