What is Holographic GIS

Holographic GIS is going to reduce visits to dangerous sites and help the technicians understand the infrastructure they are serving.

What is Holographic GIS
What is Holographic GIS

What is Holographic GIS

Remember the movies like Star Wars and Iron Man, in which actors move their hands in the air to communicate with someone or something? This futuristic technology, holography, is making its way into other techniques as well. Municipalities, pipeline operators, airports, GIS, 3-D mapping etc. now use advanced holographic technology. A vendor can see underground water pipelines or sewage lines using his holographic headset.

Virtual reality (VR), Augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and holograms are new kinds of reality other than physical reality. Virtual Reality GIS (VRGIS) is already known to us. VRGIS is a combination of 3-D stereoscopic VR, 3-D GIS and web GIS presented in the form of a model in a virtual environment.

You can access it with the help of computers, mobile phones and smart glasses conveniently. Holographic GIS is the next step in this field that requires a device for virtual tours.

What is holography?

Holography is the science of making holograms, and a hologram is an image which seems to be 3-D. It captures the interference pattern between two or more rays of coherent light. In other words, it is a photographic recording of a light field and, not an image formed by the lens.

Silver stickers on the back of your credit cards have a three-dimensional pattern that changes its shape and colour. It is a form of holographic presentation. Holograms cannot be copied using a regular printer. Thus they are an excellent way for security.

Pepper's ghost created by British inventor Henry Dircks in 1862 was just the starting of holograms. Dennis Gabor, a Hungarian physicist, won the Noble Prize in 1948 for his discovery "the principle of holography". Holograms started developing from the 1960s  with the emergence of laser technology.

Holographic GIS

Holographic GIS is going to reduce visits to dangerous sites and help the technicians understand the infrastructure they are serving. Meemim Inc. is the creator of the world's first holographic GIS. It has launched vGIS that uses client data and some third party information to prepare accurate holographic and AR projections. It is in partnership with the GIS industry giant ESRI and technology partner as Microsoft. Meemim used Esri's GIS, Microsoft Azure cloud computing and HoloLens for creating a spatial database which was used by Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority in New Jersey.

The team was able to visualise underground piping, hidden cables and obstacles through the trees. They safely completed their work with audio commands and screens with relevant information. They also connected with their remote partners, engineers and technicians from their place.

Esri's City Engine software provides VRGIS solutions to urban planners. Oculus Rift device from Facebook has coupled it for urban planning and design. Using VRGIS, you can interact with the system and get feedback from it with the help of some sensing devices.

HoloLens wearables from Microsoft provides enjoyable mixed reality experience with better reliability, security and scalability of the cloud and AI services offered by Microsoft. You can map your physical surroundings with its high definition lenses and spatial sound. It consists of a CPU, a GPU and an HPU ( holographic processing unit). It has high-quality sensors that map the physical environment and gives you a feeling of reality.

Holographic GIS- an emerging technology

HoloLens creates objects which are made from light and the sounds similar to the physical surroundings. The holograms act like a Real object and respond to your gaze, gesture and voice commands. Multiple users can view them at a time, so they create a better virtual tour, and you can discuss your business and infrastructure with your team.

Major IT companies are now taking an interest in this technology. Next-generation smartphones might come equipped with video calls, 3-D data transmission and individually suited interfaces.

The technology is going to focus more on the analytical capabilities of advanced GIS systems in the coming years. User experience is another aspect they are working on and is expected to improve soon. Raster and vector data of GIS can be turned into holographic data. Hence GIS has a bright future in holography, and more surprises are there on the way to improve our visualisation.