GE just announced a partnership with Google to license Google maps for use in its geographic information system (GIS) dubbed Smallworld. Smallworld is a set of software tools used by engineers to help design and manage things like electric grids, pipelines, telecom networks and other large, critical systems of stuff that guys in trucks tend to keep an eye on. Google Maps will start to evolve as the mapping needs of this new set of industrial users starts banging away on it.
Say someone is designing the routing of a fiber optic network, they will be able to couple their design with a street view from Google to adjust the course of the fiber to avoid running across a parking lot or through a house. That same view will be accessible from the field on Android-powered smartphones and tablets, allowing revisions to be made on the fly—and ideally before the expensive business of sending trucks and digging holes commences.
Those simple features, available for some time to consumers, will be a great leap forward in the industrial sector, Friehauf says, and he imagines how Google could help push it even further for this new set of users. “What about 3-D visualizations, so instead of Street View, we started getting below the street and above it?” he says. The next industrial version of Google Maps could display all the electric lines and pipe systems running below ground and then show how they branch out and terminate inside houses and buildings.
Maps for the Movies
The scene from the movie the Matrix could become possible in one or two iterations of Google Maps
Morpheus : Tank – Find a structural drawing of this building. Find it fast.
Tank : Got it.
Morpheus : I need the main wet wall.
There are also movies and TV Shows where people are crawling through ductwork (Mission Impossible, Die Hard, and many others) or large plumbing (Shawshank Redemption, Aliens).
3d Map all of infrastructure, plumbing, cabling, ductwork and make it compatible and integrated for a global mapping system.
Add in all of the other geographic information. Seismic information, underground water, resources, caves etc…
Google Maps already has over 10,000 indoor floorplans for airports, shopping malls and other buildings.
Google Maps is going beyond way beyond outdoor maps and the engineering drawings and uses will increase the indoor mapping and will enable underground and other infrastructure mapping.
All of these systems will also be trojan horse for Google docs and other Google services. Google docs will likely get extended to enable engineering and architectural document formats.
SOURCES – Wired, Google, UCSB
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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