ESRI Venezuela with Edgar Díaz Villarroel for Twingeo 6th Edition

To begin with, a very simple question. What is Location Intelligence?

Location Intelligence (LI) is achieved through the visualization and analysis of geospatial data to enhance understanding, knowledge, decision-making and prediction. By adding layers of data, such as demographics, traffic, and weather, to a smart map, organizations gain location intelligence as they understand why things happen where they happen. As part of a digital transformation, many organizations rely on geographic information systems (GIS) technology to create Location Intelligence.

As you have seen the adoption of Location Intelligence in small and large companies, as well as its acceptance at the State / Government level. The adoption of Location Intelligence in large and small companies has been very good, which has contributed to the massification of GIS and the use by people of non-traditional professions, for us it is incredible how we work with bankers, industrial engineers, doctors, etc. Staff that was not our goal as users before. In the State / Government due to the political crisis and the lack of investment there has not been a very good reception.

Do you think that during the current pandemic, the use, consumption and learning of geotechnologies has had a positive or negative change?

Geotechnologies have had a positive and fundamental role in the fight against the virus, thousands of apps have been developed in many countries to help, monitor and make the best decisions. There are apps like the one from the Johns Hopkins University Institute that today has 3 billion visits.  Dashboard Venezuela and JHU

Esri launched the COVID GIS Hub, can this technology help fight other epidemics in the future?

ArcGIS HUB is an extraordinary resource center to locate all the apps in one place and download data for live analysis, at this moment there is practically a COVID HUB for each Country, Undoubtedly this versatile and immediately available tool will help in other pandemics, since it will have open information for the entire scientific and medical community and anyone else interested in helping.

Do you think that the growing use of geotechnologies is a challenge or an opportunity?

It is an opportunity without any doubt, to georeference all the information, it gives analysis opportunities that allow you to be much more efficient and intelligent and this will be very important in this new reality.

Do you consider that there is a great difference in the integration of geospatial technologies in Venezuela with respect to the rest of the world? Has the current crisis influenced the implementation or development of geotechnologies?

Undoubtedly there is a difference due to the current crisis, the lack of investment in government agencies has had a very damaging effect, for example in public services (Water, Electricity, Gas, Telephony, Internet, etc.) they are from the state they do not have technologies geospatial and each day of delay that passes without making these implementations the problems accumulate and service does not make if it does not get worse, on the other hand private companies, (food distribution, cell phone, Education, Marketing, Banks, Security, etc) they are using geospatial technologies very efficiently and you are on par with everyone.

Why does ESRI continue to bet on Venezuela? What alliances or collaborations do you have and which ones are to come?

We Esri Venezuela, we were the first Esri distributor outside the United States, we have a great tradition in the country, we are carrying out projects that are an example for the rest of the world, we have a large community of users who always count on us and that commitment to them motivates us. At Esri we are sure that we must continue betting on Venezuela and that the use of GIS is what will really help build a better future.

With regard to alliances and collaborations, we have a strong program of business partners in the country, which has allowed us to work in all markets, we continue to look for new partners in other areas of specialty. They recently held the "Smart Cities and Technologies Forum". Could you tell us what is a Smart City, is it the same as a digital city? And what do you think Caracas would lack - for example - to become a Smart City

A Smart City is a super-efficient city, it refers to a type of urban development based on sustainable development that is capable of adequately responding to the basic needs of institutions, companies, and the inhabitants themselves, both economically, as in operational, social and environmental aspects. It is not the same that a Digital City is an evolution of the Digital City, it is the next step, Caracas is a City that has 5 mayors of these there are 4 that are already on the way to being a Smart City we continue to guide them in Planning, Mobility , Analysis and management of data and the most important in the connection with citizens. ArcGIS Hub Australia

What, according to your criteria, are the essential geotechnologies to achieve a digital transformation of cities? What are the advantages that ESRI technologies specifically offer to achieve this?

For me, something essential to achieve the Digital transformation is to have a digital registry and available at any place, time and device, on this registry all the necessary information will be raised on Transportation, Crime, Solid Waste, Economic, Health, Planning, Incidents, etc. . This information will be shared with citizens and they will be very critical if it is not up-to-date and with good quality. That will help make decisions in real time and solve community problems. We at Esri have specific tools in each of the phases to achieve the goal of digital transformation.

In this 4th industrial revolution, which brings with it the objective of establishing a total connection between cities (Smart City), modeling of structures (Digital Twins) among other things, how does GIS enter as a powerful data management tool? Many think that BIM is the most suitable for the processes related to this.

Well Esri and Autodesk have decided to partner to make this a reality GIS and BIM are fully compatible at this time, we have within our solutions connections to BIM bone and all the information can be loaded into our apps, what users expected is a reality having all the information and analysis in a single environment is possible today with ArcGIS.

Do you think ESRI has approached GIS + BIM integration correctly?

Yes, it seems to me that every day with the new connectors between technologies, we are surprised in a very positive way by the analyzes that can be carried out. As you have seen the evolution in terms of the use of sensors for geospatial data capture. We know that personal mobile devices continually send information that is associated with a location. What is the importance of the data that we ourselves generate, is it a double-edged sword?

All the data that is generated with these sensors is very interesting, that allows us to analyze a lot of information about energy, transport, resource mobilization, artificial intelligence, scenario prediction, etc. There is always the doubt if this information is used incorrectly it can be harmful, but surely there are more benefits for the city and to make it more livable for all of us who reside in it.

The methods and techniques of data acquisition and capture are now being directed to obtaining information in real time, implementing the use of remote sensors such as drones, which he believes could happen with the use of sensors such as optical satellites and radar, having note that the information is not immediate.

Real-time information is something that all users want and almost that in any presentation that is an obligatory question that someone decides to ask, drones have helped a lot to shorten these times and we are having excellent results to update cartography and models of elevation, but drones still have some flight limitations and other technical issues that make satellites and radar still a good choice for some types of work. A hybrid between the two technologies is ideal. Currently there is already a project running low-altitude satellites to monitor the earth in real time using artificial intelligence. Which shows that satellites have a long time to use.

What technological trends related to the geospatial field are large cities currently using? How and where should action begin to reach that level?

Almost all large cities already have a GIS, this really is the beginning, to have an excellent cadastre with all the necessary layers in a Spatial Data Infrastructure (IDE) that is collaborative between the different departments that coexist in a city where each department is Layers owner which is responsible for keeping updated, this will help Analysis, Planning and connection with citizens.

Let's talk about Academia GIS Venezuela, has it been well received? What lines of research does the academic offer have?

Yes, we at Esri Venezuela are very impressed with the receptivity of our GIS AcademyWe have several courses weekly, many enrolled, we offer all the official Esri courses, but additionally we have created an offer of personalized courses in Geomarketing, Environment, Petroleum, Geodesign and Cadastre. We have also created specialties in those same areas that already have several graduate courts. We currently have a new course on the ArcGIS Urban product that is entirely in Spanish and English created entirely in Esri Venezuela and that is being used to train other distributors in Latin America. Our prices are really very supportive.

Do you consider that the academic offer for the training of a GIS professional in Venezuela is in accordance with the current reality?

Yes, the great demand we have proves it, Our courses were created according to what is being needed at this time in Venezuela, the specialties were created according to the labor needs of the country, all those who finish the specialties are hired immediately or get a better job offer.

Do you think that the demand for professionals who are closely related to spatial data management will be much higher in the near future?

Yes, that is a reality today, databases matter more every day where it happened or where that is and that allows us to be more efficient and intelligent, new specialists are being created, data scientists (data Science) and Analysts (Spatial Analyst) and I am sure that in the future much more information will be created that will come georeferenced from origin and many more specialized people will be needed to work with that information

What do you think of the constant competition between free and private GIS technologies.

The competition seems healthy to me because that makes us strive, improve and continue creating products of the highest quality. Esri complies with all OGC Standards, Within our product offering there is a lot of open source and open data

What are the challenges for the future within the GIS world? And what has been the most significant change you have seen since its inception?

Without a doubt, there are Challenges that we must continue to develop, Real time, Artificial intelligence, 3D, Images and Collaboration between organizations. The most significant change that I have seen has been the massification of the use of the ArcGIS platform in all industries, in any place, device and time, we were a software that knew how to use only specialized personnel, today there are apps that anyone can handle without having any type of training or prior education.

Do you think that spatial data will be easily accessible in the future? Considering that for this to happen they must go through multiple processes

Yes, I am convinced that the future data will be open and easily accessible. That will help in the enrichment of the data, the updating and the collaboration between people. Artificial intelligence is going to help a lot to simplify these processes, the future of spatial data will be very impressive without any doubt.

You can tell us about some alliances that will remain this year and new ones to come.

Esri will continue to grow in its community of business partners and association with universities that will help us create a strong GIS community, this year we will be allied with multilateral organizations, organizations that are in charge of humanitarian aid and organizations that are in the first line helping in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anything else I would like to add

In Esri Venezuela we have years in a plan to help the Universities, we call this project Smart Campus with which we are sure we can solve the problems that are within the campus that are very similar to the problems of a city. This project already has 4 completed projects Central University of Venezuela, Simón Bolívar University, Zulia University and Metropolitan University. UCV campus3D UCVUSB Smart Campus

Much more

This interview and others are published in the 6th Edition of Twingeo Magazine. Twingeo is at your complete disposal to receive articles related to Geoengineering for its next edition, contact us through the emails editor@geofumadas.com and editor@geoingenieria.com. Until the next edition.


Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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