The integration of geospatial information software (GIS), remote sensing and surveying and mapping data has accelerated in recent years. Meanwhile, new technologies such as AI models and ChatGPT are emerging and being integrated with GIS to bring new momentum. As the market enters a new development stage, how can we embrace these new technologies to empower industry innovation? And, how can we develop more powerful products to meet the growing market demand and solve new pain points?
SuperMap Software Group, the leading GIS platform manufacturer in Asia and the second largest worldwide, released a new generation of GIS software products – SuperMap GIS 2023 – at the Geospatial Information Software Technology Conference (GISTC 2023) held in June this year. In this series, SuperMap has not only improved the five GIS platform software technical systems (BitDC, namely Big Data GIS, AI GIS, 3D GIS, Distributed GIS and cross-platform GIS) and enhanced the capabilities of the cloud GIS server, edge GIS server, terminal GIS and other products, but also released several new products. These include the cross-platform remote sensing image processing desktop software and the cross-platform electronic nautical chart production desktop software, meeting new market demands and solving users’ pain points.
Integrating remote sensing and GIS to accurately address pain points
Of the new products released at the conference, the remote sensing and GIS integration software attracted the most attention. “Remote sensing and GIS are closely related, but they have been disconnected from each other for a long time. Remote sensing image processing is carried out in remote sensing software, but data management, data release and data application all require GIS software. As data conversion is time-consuming and switching between different types of software laborious, the market urgently required the integration of remote sensing and GIS,” said Dr Song Guanfu, chair of the board of SuperMap Software Group.
The SuperMap remote sensing and GIS integration product system consists of three levels: the spatial database, the C++ kernel and Java components, and products. Integrating the world’s leading photogrammetry and remote sensing core algorithms, and based on intelligent processing, automation, high-performance computing and other technologies, SuperMap developed a cross-platform remote sensing image processing desktop software – SuperMap ImageX Pro (beta). The software features remote sensing and GIS integration, cross-platform application, intelligent processing and high computing performance.
Chen Yong, associate director of SuperMap Research Institute, said in an interview after the conference: “The newly released remote sensing and GIS integration software can solve the two pain points that have long existed: remote sensing data that cannot be used or cannot be processed on time. For the past several years, SuperMap has accumulated a lot of experience in IT technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and 3D, distributed and cross-platform technologies. Big data and distributed technology enable the storage, analysis and use of massive amounts of data and improve the overall remote sensing image data processing capability. The application of artificial intelligence technology to the remote sensing processing can improve processing efficiency in terms of interpretation, speeding up the production process.”
Electronic nautical chart production software assists with comprehensive marine management
In addition to remote sensing and GIS integration software, the newly released cross-platform electronic nautical chart production desktop software – SuperMap iMaritimeEditor – has also drawn much attention. The software provides functions such as S57 standard chart data management, S52 chart display, S58 data check and standard expansion. It can be used for the production, application, printing and publication of inland river, port and coastal charts as well as military standard charts.
SuperMap iMaritimeEditor allows people to edit collaboratively but independently. Once the editing is complete, the version can be updated and any conflicts handled through the conflict handling mechanism. “In the past, there were problems in collaborative production, such as editing conflicts, version merging, and so on. Now, through version management abilities, multi-user collaborative production can be realized, ensuring data efficiency and follow-up work without errors. Version management is not just a capability in nautical chart production, but also the capability provided by the underlying SuperMap platform. The production of surveying and mapping data and the remote sensing data can all be powered using this capability,” said Chen Yong.
SuperMap iMaritimeEditor supports the import of S57 chart data and the updating of files, and the imported chart data is displayed according to the S52 display standard. At the same time, electronic nautical charts can be integrated with additional GIS data to realize the overlayed display of maps such as vector maps and image maps. “We have also been paying attention to integrating sea and land. Our current sea chart can be displayed in an integrated manner with the traditional electronic map. In this way, the goals both at sea and on land can be presented together. The offshore area has a close relationship with inland, thus integrated management is possible,” continued Chen Yong.
Digital twin technology boosts the digital transformation of enterprises
SuperMap has also enhanced its digital twin technical capabilities. In 2020, SuperMap launched SuperMap Hi-Fi 3D SDKs, a high-fidelity 3D GIS development package deeply integrated with game engines. With digital twins being applied in more and more projects such as city construction, park management and water conservation, the requirements for full-element expression, visualized rendering and spatial analysis calculations, for example, are increasing. This year, SuperMap GIS 2023 further upgraded the high-fidelity 3D GIS development package. Its visualization effect has been improved to support more 3D GIS analysis and query functions. SuperMap iExplorer3D, an easier-to-use 3D scene browsing software, is also provided to support the rapid construction of high-fidelity 3D scenes.
“A few years ago, we began to study the cross-border integration of SuperMap products and game engines and, over the years, we solved the problem of game engines accessing real geographic information data. We have also brought spatial analysis capabilities to game engines. Such a joint promotion of GIS and game engines embodies the enhancement of IT value. In this way, we can access massive spatial data in game engines and get good presentation effects as well,” said Chen Yong.
Digital twins play an important role in the digital transformation of businesses today. To solve various problems encountered by enterprises due to a lack of experience in the digital transformation process and help enterprises achieve better digitalization, SuperMap has built digital twin construction capabilities in terms of data fusion and technology integration, to serve customers and businesses and ultimately realize business value. In terms of data fusion, SuperMap took the lead in drafting the spatial 3D data format (S3M) standard. As Wang Lei, vice president of SuperMap Software Group, reported at GISTC 2023: “From the perspective of technology integration, the platform is deeply connected and integrated with domestic servers, operating systems and databases to achieve cross-platform design. At the same time, through the integration of GIS and game engines, the platform not only achieves high-fidelity rendering effects, but also retains powerful spatial analysis capabilities and realizes 2D-3D integration and the integration of ‘display and computing’”.