Cloud-Native Geospatial: A New Way of Working

Cloud-native geospatial mapping is the modern standard for data storage, offering a way for facilities, construction, and engineering teams to access data at any time, from anywhere. When your maps, permits, and site data are scattered, compiling them into one centralized repository can instantly streamline your construction, renovation, and maintenance projects. When that repository and visualization are cloud-based, you now have access to documents and models on-the-go, meeting your projects and colleagues wherever they are.

Explaining cloud-native geospatial

To explain this technical concept in depth, we will first focus on what “cloud-native” entails, as well as the benefits. Amazon Web Services (AWS) explains concisely, “Cloud native is the software approach of building, deploying, and managing modern applications in cloud computing environments. Modern companies want to build highly scalable, flexible, and resilient applications that they can update quickly to meet customer demands. To do so, they use modern tools and techniques that inherently support application development on cloud infrastructure. These cloud-native technologies support fast and frequent changes to applications without impacting service delivery, providing adopters with an innovative, competitive advantage.”

Cloud-Native Geospatial: A New Way of Working
Cloud-Native Geospatial: A New Way of Working

Taking this idea one step further, cloud-native solutions become relevant in the context of geographic mapping software when considering how to dynamically collaborate and store data. Per the Eclipse Foundation, “Cloud-native geospatial is a description of the production, processes, and systems that are enabled with geospatial technology designed specifically for cloud computing infrastructure.” In a recent article, we discussed cloud storage at a granular level, explaining how GPRS Project Managers collect geospatial data and upload it to the cloud. SiteMap®’s capabilities expertly illustrate the viewing and analysis of this information, offering a map of site features and the ability to extrapolate relationships among the data.

Three major benefits of using cloud-native geospatial technology

To successfully visualize the structures and utilities both above and below the surface of your facility, significant processing power must be available to formulate those maps and models. A reliable cloud-native platform can make all the difference, offering a secure space which doesn’t rely on the limitations of physical servers. The small benefits add up to three significant pillars, which explain why cloud-native functionality is the leading edge in geospatial visualization:

Explaining cloud-native geospatial
Explaining cloud-native geospatial

 Stability and availability are top of mind. When using cloud-native software to manage geospatial information, new features and bug fixes do not need to be tested and installed locally. This means that cloud servers can be more easily maintained from anywhere, and that downtime isn’t required when new features and functions are rolled out. Another benefit is scalability; as your facility grows and your geospatial mapping data swells, cloud storage can easily expand to accommodate your needs. The addition and expansion of each layer—further utilities, pipe inspection data, drone imagery, 3D above-ground spatial visualizations, subsurface void and underground storage tank (UST) data, and concrete slab analysis—adds significant data storage needs that the cloud can accommodate.

Cost-consciousness is a second consideration, as cloud-native geospatial solutions can save your business significant money on data storage. Cloud Academy says, “By using online data storage, the enterprise reduces the expenses of internal resources. With this technology, the company itself does not need any inner power and support to manage and store its data; the cloud storage vendor handles all.” Cost also comes to mind in the event of disaster recovery. If something were to happen to geospatial data stored on a local server, the backup process can be complicated at best, and the loss of data can be quite costly, with questionable ability to recover. When your geospatial data is cloud-based, however, disaster recovery planning becomes much more streamlined, as backup data can also exist on the cloud and not be impacted as a physical server would by environmental concerns, intruders, and so on. On top of the physical benefits, cloud-based servers are also encrypted, preventing data breaches.

Three major benefits of using cloud-native geospatial technology
Three major benefits of using cloud-native geospatial technology

Efficiency is another main benefit of using cloud-native geospatial software. When your data is available on the cloud, it can be accessed around the clock, from virtually anywhere, by anyone who has the appropriate credentials. This means that your facilities, construction, and engineering teams can collaborate without needing to sit in the same room to do so. Construction, renovation, and preventive maintenance projects can be seamlessly planned and executed, knowing that your geospatial data is always within reach. This central geospatial data hub can also help your team plan for permit renewal activities that might otherwise get lost in the document shuffle.

The cloud-based nature of SiteMap®, powered by GPRS
The cloud-based nature of SiteMap®, powered by GPRS

The cloud-based nature of SiteMap®, powered by GPRS, means that your data can be viewed in the Map Viewer visualizations at any time. The collaborative, on-demand power of the Digital Plan Room gives your facility’s documents a home, gathering historical data in one place and allowing for real-time updates as your geospatial data evolves. Contact us to learn more about the ways SiteMap® can handle your facility’s next mapping project; our experts can serve your needs both above and below ground.