The evolution of Geoscape Buildings
Geoscape Buildings has evolved significantly and now represent more than 16 million buildings in incredible detail.
When Geoscape released its buildings dataset in 2016, it was a milestone moment. A national foundational dataset of this quality and detail – in digital form – had not existed before, and it was in strong demand by the market.
Since its release, Geoscape Buildings has been used across various sectors to support planning and modelling. Think insurance, utilities, and telecommunications industries, it’s benefitted projects such as the NEAR Program Commercial Building Baseline Study and the NSW Digital Twin.
Since then Geoscape Buildings has evolved significantly and now represent more than 16 million buildings in incredible detail.
This blog takes a look at how we took the original Geoscape Buildings product to Geoscape Buildings 3.0 which was released in late 2021.
To keep pace with technological change and user requirements, Geoscape Australia looked at methods to make the product more precise while adding feature attributes. The most recent iteration – Geoscape Buildings 3.0 – relies on new technologies and partnerships to deliver granular detail for enhanced 3D maps and extra usage options.
Using advancements in artificial intelligence, machine vision and deep learning technology Geoscape Buildings 3.0 provide more accurate building volumes and estimation of the number of floors, and the ability to derive further analytics including floor space estimations.
The enhanced spatial precision provides reliable relationships to land parcels and addresses. Decision-making is now more efficient during emergency events such as the recent NSW floods. The product’s enhanced classification accuracy of attributes includes solar panels, roof materials and other attributes critical to understanding and quantifying risk – particularly for insurers.
The building of Buildings 3.0
To transition the dataset, Geoscape Australia partnered with award-winning artificial intelligence company GeoX and Adelaide-based aerial capture company Aerometrex.
The Geoscape team spent 18 months working closely with customers to define their unique requirements and determined what was possible with what was required.
Significant feature extraction and attribution took place using digital surface models, source aerial imagery and ground elevation models.
The single largest update of the product hit the market in November 2021. This release represented the new capture and definition of buildings across Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and parts of Melbourne. Geoscape is continuing to roll out data from these workflows across urban Australia, with the full rollout of Buildings 3.0 due to be complete by end of 2022.
Releasing the enhanced version of Geoscape Buildings 3.0 wasn’t an easy task. As it is a foundational data product, the team needed to maintain its integrity while changing the capture and extraction process.
Working at a national scale created certain complexities from planning through to execution. It was important for the team at Geoscape to ensure unwanted artefacts or elements were not introduced into the product or that the quality is compromised, even in a localised area. The team took an agile approach to iteratively develop, deliver and test results.
A quality assurance process was established to address any supply data issues before they were incorporated into the product. Plus, updates were piloted with users to establish quality metrics. Product users were also notified of all changes through extensive product documentation.
All the parts of the process needed to work well – from image capture, image processing, digital surface model production, feature extraction, quality assurance and data linkages with Geoscape Land Parcels and Address data products.
Stronger and better
We are proud to say that Geoscape Buildings 3.0 has changed what’s possible.
This product delivers enhanced currency through more frequent revisits of locations, creating stronger confidence in the data. With improved granular detail, Buildings 3.0 extends the capabilities for existing users and helps new users to innovate, for instance, the new product makes radio frequency modelling possible.
Read more about Geoscape Buildings.