Maps have always served the primary purpose of being a guide, and helping to get us to where we want to go. And with the influx of digital maps like those by Google and Waze, maps bear greater responsibility than ever before. We rely on them not only to provide us a route, but also to be relevant in real-time. If a road is closed, we expect our map app to tell us as much. If a place of business we were planning on driving to is no longer open, then our map better have that information. Just like our phones, maps have gotten pretty smart.
Hexagon Geospatial, a computer software startup based in Norcross, Georgia, works to bring the highest degree of location intelligence into the hands of various mapping agencies. Its cloud-based platform Smart M.Apps visualizes data in real time on digital maps to help predict activity based on that geo-data. The Smart M.Apps that have already been built include insights into real estate market trends, crime patterns, roadway network analysis, and a green space analyzer for growing urban areas.
President Mladen Stojic recently spoke with Street Fight about how this system works and why regular maps are no longer enough.
How would you describe Hexagon Geospatial and and Hexagon Smart M.apps in the simplest way?
Hexagon Geospatial helps make sense of the dynamically changing world by providing the technology to design, develop and create solutions that solve real-world challenges. Our Smart M.Apps are targeted information services that combine fresh geospatial content and workflows to deliver an interactive experience that includes the map and an engaging custom dashboard of insightful analytics.
Can you break that down further and elaborate on how it can be used — by whom and to what end?
Hexagon Geospatial enables you to visualize and then communicate geographic information. A Smart.M.App can pull in various data to illustrate a problem and reveal possible solutions so people within teams and across organizations can reach consensus quickly and act on what they’ve learned.
We develop technology and work closely with clients to develop dashboards that interpret information in personalized, meaningful ways. This includes all kinds of local, state and national mapping agencies working in areas such transportation, defense, and agriculture.
Our portfolio puts the ability to transform location-based content — both past, real-time, and predictive — into dynamic and usable business information that creatively conveys the answers people need to do their jobs and make the most out of their resources.
How is “geospatial” different than location and how is geo-technology, as you see it, different than “location-based” technology?
To many people, location is only a place on a map. Geospatial incorporates all of the sensors, software, domain knowledge, and customer workflows and fuses them into intelligent information ecosystems that deliver actionable information. In the past, data sets might have languished on a hard drive till the right analytical framework was put on top of them. Now, geo-technology lets you sense, decide and act as the earth changes.
Why is information on a map not good enough anymore and how can Hex Geoprove it? Why should brick-and-mortar businesses care?
A map is only a static representation of what was. The Hexagon Smart M.App is really an app, or as we like to say, the M.App of the Future. As an app, it illuminates location-based information to reveal the pain points or opportunities within your field and in your part of the world. There’s no question that businesses, government agencies, and the community at large benefit from harnessing big data.
The question is how do you do it? The key is to literally pull the 40,000 foot view right into the device in the palm of someone’s hands in a way that helps them pivot at the moment they need a solution. Transferring and clearly communicating geospatial data breaks down silos and helps people make decisions as fast as the world we live in.
Who are you working with now? And how do you show them ROI/attribution?
We do a lot of work in government, transportation, defense and intelligence, oil and gas, natural resources, and agriculture. After developing on Smart M.App platform, our clients can then monetize their applications within our e-commerce framework (the M.App Exchange).
What’s a real-world example of how a business might use your services?
We’re working with Ordnance Survey and the University of Bristol to provide analytics and insight to the city of Bristol to prepare for floods. Using geospatial data rather than static maps can help cities such as Bristol visualize, prepare, and apply resources to such problems before they occur.
There’s a very real need to harness data streams and communicate risk in simple, actionable ways so government agencies can share and plan in advance of natural disasters. And when they occur, responders in the field can view and act upon crowdsourced information about such things as outages, transit obstructions, and shelter availability in real time.
Nicole Spector is a Street Fight contributor.