Mapping – The Grass Roots of Property?

Let’s discuss Mapping! This is a topic that my deep down inner geek LOVES and I was so excited to see that MODUS magazine (The RICS’s magazine) was discussing it recently because it means that I can bring it up too… woop!

mapping, data

I love that data can be collected on absolutely anything and added to a map

So where did this love affair start for me? My first degree was in Geography and Computing, so naturally in my third year I gravitated towards GIS (Geographical Information Systems), which was basically mapping. I learnt to use satellite images and change the colours to highlight what was going on at ground level and then overlay various data sets to come up with a useful map.

I enjoyed this process so much that I put it to good use. Mapping where earthquake survivors from the 2010 Haiti earthquake were living in temporary tents and accommodation so that rescue services could find them. The next step was helping scan data sets and imagery for any trace of missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in 2014. 

Since, I’ve used my mapping skills in property, although I must admit in a fairly NC specific way. Rather than acquiring expensive data sets I like to use Google Maps and then add my own data sets of house price and rental information on top. It is lengthy, but I’m content to spend time on it.

However, it is music to my ears to read the huge developments in mapping from companies like Missing Maps and ScanLab who are producing data sets on how and where populations are living as well as high quality data on building conditions and town layouts.

It’s fascinating for me to think that towns could be digitally built and mapped to fit in with current infrastructure based on what is happening globally and where the need is for certain buildings. I love that data can be collected on absolutely anything and added to a map, and that this can be shown in any way that’s relevant for the data you are trying to show your audience. 

I firmly believe that this new technology will re-shape the way that we look at the built environment and allow us to develop towns and cities which actually reflect the needs of the community. My hope is that this will eventually override the planning system, rather than the council having to go through lengthy paperwork, they would be able to evaluate schemes based on a map and what the local community needs and make a more informed yet quick decision… we’ll see!

Let me summarise some of the awesome new technologies that are transforming the face of mapping:

  • Augmented Reality – Remember Pokemon Go? This puts the digital in the real world.
  • Satellites – There are thousands of these orbiting the earth, each taking different images and recording different data sets allowing us brand new perspectives which are constantly being updated.
  • Lidar – This is the use of light to map 3D images of the planet.
  • Open Data – Free data that anyone can use provided by both Government and private sources
  • Virtual Reality – Simulated / Digital worlds… these can give you a picture of what one day might be real.
  • Internet of Things – This is a collection of data sets on… EVERYTHING! Data is captured by sensors and chips embedded on a range of devices.

    mapping, data

    Putting my love for mapping to good use

It’s all exciting isn’t it… which goes back to the title of this blog: Mapping – The Grass Roots of Property? I believe so, mapping allows us to see where the best place to build is and it allows us to see the space available and as we are able to get our hands on more and more data it will also allow us to build highly optimised towns and hopefully speed up the build process. So those HUGE new housing projections we’ve got may come sooner than expected.

…Ahh the wonders of beautiful technology…

Are you as excited about mapping as I am? Has it opened your eyes to new technologies and ways in which the property industry is developing? Let me know in the comments section below!


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