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Geospatial a Surprising Highlight of eMerge Trade Show

June 4, 2015  - By

Two weeks ago I helped a colleague with a trade show in Miami called eMerge Americas. This was a general-interest trade show focused on U.S. and Latin American trade and economic development. It wasn’t GEOINT or an ESRI users conference, so I didn’t expect any significant geospatial exhibitors, but I was wrong.

In fact, there were so many geospatial-related displays, I decided to build my column around it — not because there were new developments, but to give you a feel for how business in general is being exposed to and shaped by our geospatial technology.

I found so much visual content that under the “picture is worth a thousand words” philosophy, I shot video clips of exhibitors so that you could quickly hear and see their stories. I discovered a number of true start-up businesses, as well as a large area devoted to showing robotics from local school programs. You may not have the time to view each clip, so the following are brief descriptions of each exhibitor that caught my attention:

Introduction to eMerge Americas

Esri. Because Latin America is a large and growing market, Jack Dangermond had his team there.

Indra. A large Spanish firm demonstrating their end to end solutions including building 3D models overlaid on Google.

Cisco. Cisco had a very large display showing city management of transportation/utilities/ planning using geospatial tools and management systems.

Fish. A company that tracks people and assets using RFID tags and indoor location technology.

Florida International University. FIU had numerous technology displays but their autonomous catamaran doing bathymetry data collection and mapping was impressive.

CartoData. This was a Mexican firm doing some very impressive end-to-end solutions including the use of Pix4D to build 3D models from UAV data.

ImPlaces. A small start-up that builds Smartphone GPS location enabled applications for self guided tours such as museums, parks, real estate, etc.

Baptist Health. Baptist Health demonstrated its 3D remote surgery system that was dimensionally scalable. These systems permit a surgeon to work at a macro level while the surgical tools operate a at microscopic level.

ICONICS. A company that can zoom from a country or regional map down to the detail of an individual valve in a specific plant using CAD/BIM data.

RangeVideo. A UAV company with a very flexible platform and 3D operator viewing goggles.

ALTA Systems. An alternative to powered UAVs.

SnowLizard Products. A small start up building durable waterproof Smartphone cases with Bad Elf GPS and solar panel recharging.

Catbird. A data system security oversight system.

VSN 360. There was a lot of interest in this product. VSN was showing a new 4K HD quality 360-degree video camera a little bigger than a coffee mug with many features. My video of a video didn’t do it justice, so here is a link to the demo video.

For fun, view these non-geospatial exhibitors:

Holography Box USA. A portable, rear projection, point-of-sale video display that looks like a 3D hologram.

TeamSandTastic. A company that provides sand sculptors for trade shows or other events. Doesn’t sound exciting, but just like a Zamboni clearing the ice, you can’t stop watching as an artist turns a pile of sand into a sculpture.

Robotics. Local students show off their robotic construction efforts and operational talents.

Because eMerge has been so well received, I’m happy to see plans are in place to make this an annual event. Latin America is a large and growing market with many talented individuals, some of whom I met at this conference. As a country, we seem to take Latin America for granted, but this a region that shares our values. We need to nurture our relationships and work to prevent the kind of attitudes found in areas hostile to American values.

About the Author: Art Kalinski

A career Naval Officer, Art Kalinski established the Navy’s first geographic information system (GIS) in the mid-1980s. Completing a post-graduate degree in GIS at the University of North Carolina, he was the Atlanta Regional Commission GIS Manager from 1993 to 2007. He pioneered the use of oblique imagery for public safety and participated in numerous disaster-response actions including GIS/imagery support of the National Guard during Hurricane Katrina; the Urban Area Security Initiative; a NIMS-based field exercise in Atlanta; and a fully manned hardware-equipped joint disaster response exercise in New York City. Kalinski retired early from ARC to join Pictometry International to direct military projects using oblique imagery, which led to him joining SPGlobal Inc. He has written articles for numerous geospatial publications, and authors a monthly column for the GeoIntelligence Insider e-newsletter aimed at federal GIS users.