From data to insight: transforming our future with AI

Nearmap Pty Ltd

By Dan Paull, Executive Vice President & General Manager, ANZ, Nearmap
Tuesday, 13 June, 2023

From data to insight: transforming our future with AI

As Australia navigates an uncertain landscape, due to economic and environmental factors, embracing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly vital. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, organisations can navigate the challenges of an ever-changing world more effectively, drive growth, foster resilience and ultimately contribute to the betterment of communities nationwide.

With rising costs and skilled talent shortage, Australian organisations are increasingly seeking ways to drive efficiencies, improve operations and reduce expenses. Embracing technology has become an imperative for companies looking to stay competitive and resilient. At the same time, Australia has faced the impacts of El Niño and La Niña climate patterns for the third consecutive year, with many communities across the country still reeling from the devastating impact of bushfires, droughts and floods.

Efficiently evaluating, managing and responding to different risks and challenges requires Australia to leverage powerful data, insights and tools like never before. This is where the transformative potential of AI technology comes into play. By harnessing AI, organisations can unlock a wealth of information and derive meaningful insights from a wide range of sources, helping them make better-informed decisions and take proactive measures.

Convergence of data and AI

The world is creating a staggering amount of data today. In 2010, we created just two zettabytes but, in 2023, it is expected to grow by more than 60 times to 120 zettabytes and hit 181 zettabytes by 2025. However, an excess of data is difficult to manage effectively, analyse thoroughly and use in its entirety. An IDC study found that less than 10% of data created each year is structured, meaning an overwhelming amount of data cannot be processed and analysed with conventional methods. This includes audio and video files, images and social media content.

Aerial imagery and location intelligence are pillars of geospatial information and knowledge within the mega data landscape that drives business decisions. Today, with even more comprehensive information, the focus is now on how organisations and communities can use pertinent data to enhance and strengthen their capabilities, optimising for the future.

The difference lies in the ability of AI to transform location data into location intelligence.

Tech-driven decision-making

Organisations across various industries, from construction to real estate and the public sector, can harness the power of AI to gain valuable insights from geospatial data. With insights shaped by data and technology, organisations can make more informed decisions that drive growth and efficiency while positively impacting communities. The possibilities are vast.

Today, there are a multitude of challenges that organisations face in Australia — from rising costs to skill shortages. However, data-driven decisions can help increase productivity and enable cost savings.

For example, governments and councils are benefiting from greater situational awareness regarding the built and natural environment, gaining more accurate property insights at a commercial and residential scale, and analysing vegetation to better analyse and plan green space.

The City of Ryde in New South Wales also turned to aerial mapping and AI to help manage and protect its green spaces. By 2041, the city’s population is expected to grow by almost 30% and green spaces are a vital part of any city — they improve air quality, reduce the urban heat island effect and can also improve residents’ physical and mental health. As such, the leafy local government area (LGA) wants to ensure that its more than 200 parks and open spaces are conserved. However, as green spaces are often measured in anecdotal terms, the city needed a quantifiable approach to accurately measure the success of its conservation programs.

Using historical Nearmap geospatial data, combined with a tailored AI program and the latest machine learning technology, the city mapped tree canopy cover of the entire LGA. Armed with this critical data, it formed a baseline against which all future tree-planting programs would be measured.


The City of Ryde in April 2022, with an AI layer that maps canopy cover in the city.

Furthermore, in the public sector, technology plays a crucial role in disaster response and recovery efforts. From the Black Summer fires of 2019 to the country’s worst floods in history, these natural disasters devastated communities across the country and most are still recovering from the impact. However, by utilising AI-powered aerial imagery, authorities can more efficiently assess the impact of disasters, prioritise resources and expedite recovery processes. Timely and accurate information derived from aerial imagery can make a significant difference in saving lives, restoring infrastructure and rebuilding communities. Insurance companies are also making use of this data to help assess damage and expedite the claims process.

Impact of Lismore Floods: (T-B) October 2021, April 2022 (floods), November 2022.

In today’s digital era, data is one of the most precious assets that organisations must leverage. The crucial piece of the puzzle lies in the ability to transform raw data and take advantage of the zettabytes of data at our fingertips to create an intelligent, insight-driven strategy. Moreover, at the pace that AI is developing, organisations now can filter through what is noise versus critical information within minutes, instead of weeks or months.

If organisations, both private and public, can harness the power of AI-related big data, their teams will achieve a deeper situational understanding than ever before, guiding decisions that will deliver the most beneficial impacts.

Top image credit: Kietsirikul

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