Why the IoT needs 3D mapping for data discovery

Why the IoT needs 3D mapping for data discovery

Why the IoT needs 3D mapping for data discovery
Why the IoT needs 3D mapping for data discovery

The Internet of Things (IoT) has moved beyond being a mere buzzword, obviously… but with industry conversation now focused on how we can make sense of the data collected as a result of the multitude of connected devices… could 3D mapping makes things easier?

Ian Hetherington is CEO & founder of data visualisation company eeGeo. The firm’s platform claims to present ‘a true 3D representation of the world’ in which information, content, services and data can be presented in a visually attractive way that encourages discovery, interaction and user engagement.

Hetherington argues that the IoT data mountain is crying out for 3D mapping

IoT & 3D mapping go hand in hand

Hetherington says that the major pain point for businesses, across a range of industries, is how to make the most of IoT data and convert it into actionable insights.

“3D mapping builds context for data collected from IoT sensors, making it easy for employees throughout the business to instantly identify the data set that is of use and correlate it with a range of other data sets. Just like landmarks and people, devices have a position in the world and where they are is important. We can map those constellations,” he said.

The argument presented here is that mapping the position of a device alongside its stream of data can take the benefit of IoT to the next level.

How 3D mapping works

1f23f23f23“The example we use time and again is that of an engineer tasked with monitoring and repairing industrial fridges in a supermarket distribution warehouse. The engineer gets a call out at midnight because the sensor on one of the fridges indicates that the temperature of the fridge is rapidly decreasing and risks spoiling the contents inside,” explains Hetherington.

In this scenario, the IoT has enabled the supermarket to reduce the impact of the alert by immediately alerting the maintenance company to the fault… but now the engineer has to locate the fridge amongst hundreds.

A point of interest (POI) API can enable the location of IoT sensors to be positioned on a 3D map, either indoors or outdoors, with a name and an icon to display associated data – for ease of orientation.

Point of Interest

A POI set is a collection of Points of Interest.

“A developer can associate multiple application API keys with POI sets, allowing multiple applications or platforms access to the same POI Set. Mapping all IoT sensors within an organisation provides a holistic view of the location of IoT sensors,” said Hetherington.

In terms of wider use, eeGeo has an API for managing points of interest (POI) and can position this on a 3D map, either indoors or outdoors, with a name and an icon with the POI associated data – for ease of orientation. A POI could be an IoT device in an office or a building to provide an holistic view of the location of IoT sensors.

There is even an opportunity to attach specific POI data to the sensor such as a serial number or store information on a maintenance field. For example measuring the temp in a fridge… it goes over temp, alarm rings, sausages are going off but if you send a guy out to fix it and the fridge has got a POI icon on a map, he or she would be able to find the location of the broken fridge a lot quicker.

The firm itself is a  software technology company whose cloud based SaaS platform has its origins in the gaming industry. The developers here have used gaming ‘know-how’ married to mobile technology and big data to create geo-spatially accurate renditions of cities, countries and continents to create interactive 3D maps.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that data visualization is not important.


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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.