Data visualisation: The value of geospatial maps and support

13th January 2021 by Richard Heyns

Why is geospatial mapping so important?

To understand the need for sophisticated geospatial support, we first need to discuss the importance of geospatial mapping in data analysis and visualisation.

The reason is more straightforward than you might think. Geo-tagged data such as regional 5G service performance or the location of traffic congestion is more intuitively viewed on a map, which requires spatial analysis techniques. When this data is mapped out users are able to see it in a business-critical context and more easily recognise the correlation between data points.

Furthermore, an interactive geospatial map allows you to analyse the relationships between data points in more detail, to determine how they influence one another and properly explore the characteristics of particular regions. These geospatial capabilities enable users to uncover new connections and insights that can directly inform business decision-making.

The demand for geospatial mapping is rising, driven by the increase of IoT devices and sensors; technologies which produce a continual and ever-increasing amount of geo-tagged data. Businesses who truly want to harness the value of connected, intelligent, and automated devices therefore need geospatial analytics. In addition, as these datasets grow the need for more sophisticated capabilities grows with them.

Some examples of geospatial use cases include:

  • Mobile networks: Optimising 5G roll-out, monitoring customer and network service.
  • Oil and gas management: Analysing well performance and cost, alongside seismic analysis.
  • Shipping and fishing: Optimising logistics and tracking fleets.
  • Defence: Geospatial modelling and visualisation.
  • Smart cities: Monitoring traffic congestion, land-use patterns, and utilities.
  • City planning: Predicting resource use, traffic and public transport needs.

The geospatial challenge

Despite the ever-growing need to effectively visualise geospatial data, there are some technological barriers preventing businesses from harnessing the full potential of their solutions’ geospatial capabilities.

The problem here is simple; database and visualisation tool have been developed independently to each other. As a result, there are prominent disconnects between the capabilities of what happens in the database and what happens in the visualisation tool, ultimately causing their respective geospatial features to be incompatible and unusable.

On the database side:

Databases are designed, first and foremost, to crunch data and pre-aggregate datasets to make it easier for visualisation tools to manage. However, when it comes it geospatially mapping, these data points can’t be aggregated and so databases have to output billions of data points.

Databases can’t render geospatial data, leaving this stage completely reliant on the visualisation tool.

On the visualisation side:

Standard visualisations, such as graphs and bar charts, require very little resource to render – they can be performed locally very easily. Most visualisation tools haven’t invested in the capability needed for geospatial mapping. In fact, anything more than 30,000 points causes severe responsiveness issues.

While visualisation tools can render geospatial data, they are not designed to cope with large datasets.

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What’s the solution?

Historically, database developers don’t create visualisation tools and business intelligence developers are not the database administrators. But as data analytics practices and capabilities become more advanced, analytics tools need to adopt tighter integrations in order to accommodate the resulting technological demands. Brytlyt is pioneering this relationship, having built a database and a visualisation solution that work seamlessly together to support geospatial analysis.

Nevertheless, integration is only the first step. The fact remains that geospatial mapping is extremely resource intensive. A huge amount of work goes into creating algorithms that can accurately determine how geospatial points interact with one another. Performing this at scale across billions of data points requires high-performance computing to work in a meaningful way.

That’s why GPUs are a necessity when it comes to geospatial analytics. This advanced technology has the ability to process massively parallel workloads, so geospatial workloads are extremely responsive.

Advanced geospatial support

Brytlyt combines geospatial capabilities from both the database and the visualisation end, enabling more sophisticated and complete geospatial support compared to standard solutions. Our GPU technology can perform point-in-polygon lookup in milliseconds for high-quality, speed of thought geospatial workloads.

Our database and visualisation solution, BrytlytDB and SpotLyt, can be used as an integrated solution to deliver end-to-end visualisation capabilities including geospatial mapping. Alternatively, BrytlytDB can be integrated into existing systems to work alongside other visualisation tools. By performing any geospatial workloads, BrytlytDB unlocks rendering and mapping capabilities that weren’t previously possible.

Database rendering

Brytlyt has implemented rendering on the database side which means the data and mapping capabilities are directly connected within the same tool. The process of geospatial rendering is therefore much more efficient than in separate solutions, and images can be mapped at query time.

With Brytlyt, users can visualise and interact with billions of data points at speed and without pre-aggregation. Graphics and data displays can be manipulated in real-time with ease, giving users complete control over their maps.

Mapping editor

Our sophisticated mapping editor enables users to display data from different sources on layered maps. Users can intuitively change their view, add or remove layers, and display the data in different ways to uncover new insights. Just point and click or zoom-in to turn a choropleth map into a heat map, to change colour schemes, hide certain data types, and more.

Front-end scripting capabilities enables users to customise their visualisations and create unique functionalities – with no limits but your imagination.

Get in touch to see how Brytlyt can unlock advanced geospatial mapping and support for your business.