[PODCAST]: M.App Chest: Hexagon Geospatial’s Content Hosting and Delivery Service

Geospatial Leadership

In today’s episode we are talking to Bruce Chaplin, who is product line director at Hexagon Geospatial, on how M.App Chest makes it simple to house, manage and distribute high volume geospatial data, like imagery and point cloud data, on the cloud. To listen to more episodes from HxGN Radio, visit our channels on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.

Welcome to Hexagon Radio. This is your host Anjul Garg. Hexagon Geospatial helps individuals and organisations make sense of the dynamically changing world. Building upon a powerful portfolio of geospatial products, Hexagon Geospatial now provides a new way for envisioning, experiencing and communicating geographic information. Through targeted workflows, new content sources, flexible designs and powerful visualisation Hexagon Geospatial is building smarter maps. In today’s episode we are talking to Bruce Chaplin who is product line director at Hexagon Geospatial.

AG: Thank you for joining us today.

BC: Thank you for having me.

AG: Bruce, we are here to talk about M.App Chest, a geospatial content hosting and delivery service that is also Hexagon’s Smart M.App. Before we get into M.App Chest, can you briefly tell us about what Hexagon Smart M.Apps are?

BC: Sure. So maybe as a little bit of background of context, if we look at traditionally the kinds of applications that we’ve used in the geospatial industry most of them of have been fairly general purpose heavy-weight applications. Hexagon Smart M.App® is a different approach to delivering applications. Each Hexagon Smart M.App is really a lightweight targeted application really focused on solving unique business problems. Typically, a Hexagon Smart M.App is going to combine fresh content with geo-processing workflows to deliver what we call an information service. Then building upon that there’s heavy focus on the end-user experience. So Hexagon Smart M.App typically utilises powerful visualisations trying to indicate to the user what was, what is, what can be and what will be.

AG: This sounds interesting. So probably we are building and innovating a smarter map for the world.

BC: Absolutely.

AG: Great. Can you briefly describe the M.App Chest project?

BC: Okay. So M.App Chest is one component of the Hexagon Smart M.App platform. It’s a geospatial content hosting service and so it’s designed to make it simple for users to house and manage high volume geospatial data. So today we support both imagery and point cloud data. It allows end users to very easily get data up on to the cloud and then distribute securely with ease. M.App Chest also can operate as a standalone product in the way I described for data hosting and data delivery, but it can also work in conjunction with Hexagon Smart M.Apps providing the content that can fuel Hexagon Smart M.Apps.

AG: What are the challenges that M.App Chest involves and solves?

BC:More and more today we see large volumes of content being produced and so we’ve got a lot of these new so-called microsats being launched, capturing data on a high frequency basis. UAV’s skyrocketing—the number of UAV drones capturing data out there. And so with this expansion of the data sources, customers have also come to expect very rich, high resolution data on a very timely basis. So this creates some new challenges for data providers and they need the tools to be able to take the content and very quickly process it and make it available to end users. So we see many organisations today looking for simpler and more cost effective ways to handle the geospatial data, including how to securely store, manage it and deliver it.

AG: So who is M.App Chest for?

BC:Building on that our primary targets for M.App Chest are both the data providers and the owners of these large geospatial data stores. By M.App Chest offering a full-scale content management system it provides them the tools to easily upload, to store their data, get their imagery and point cloud data onto the cloud, allow access to it from anywhere, and then distribute securely with ease through popular web service protocols. M.App Chest also provides these optional compression capabilities. So storing data on the cloud, obviously has a cost. It comes with a cost. Very typically, geospatial data can be very large in volume and so we have industry-leading compression that allows you to reduce the storage footprint of the data that you’re storing which helps you in turn manage your costs.

AG: So we have smarter ways to manage our big data efficiently and cost effectively?

BC: Very much so.

AG: What do you feel are the key features that make M.App Chest… people and organisations need today?

BC: So I think first off, it’s very flexible in the kinds of data that it ingests. I mention both point cloud and raster imagery. It holds a very large number of formats, a large number of different coordinate systems. So addressing the needs of users on a worldwide basis. And then thirdly, obviously, the various protocols in distributing the data. The second one is its all hosted on Amazon Web Services, the Amazon Cloud, using their resilient storage known as the S3. So this means that your data is resilient and safe and ensures the long-term safety of your investment. The third one, I would say, is as a part of uploading your data to the cloud… we actually extract, metadata from the data itself automatically which then allows you to search and find the data that you need. Other features, I think, easy access, the ability to stream, download, the web services, and tile cache options. So it’s quite flexible in the different protocols that we can use to deliver data to users. Along with that, we have very fast data delivery. So image serving, some of our image serving capabilities, industry-leading that’s all available as a part of M.App Chest also. And the final point I’d mention is that it supports the Hexagon Smart M.App platform. This means that it allows our partners and customers to bring their content into the cloud, into the Smart M.App ecosystem and again use that to fuel Hexagon Smart M.Apps.

AG: What are the benefits of using M.App Chest over competitors?

BC: So I think some of them that I’ve mentioned obviously the ease of availability, ease of access. Again we see a lot of these UAV operators, drone operators who may, in some cases, not come from a geospatial background, and so they’re looking for tools that are accessible, that are easy to get started with and that are easily available. So M.App Chest certainly meets those needs; it ingests a variety of different data types, provides accessibility on a worldwide basis. I mentioned getting started is very simple, cost effective and there’s no installation required, no IT infrastructure. You simply sign up and pay as you go. And the third one I would say is again being a part of the Hexagon Smart M.App ecosystem. Being able to take your data and combine it with Hexagon Smart M.Apps allowing you to create these very compelling solutions.

AG: So it’s like using your data with Hexagon Smart M.Apps more effectively.

BC: Yes.

AG: Great. So where is the M.App Chest already being used today?

BC: One example that we have today is we have a partner, Geosystems GmBH that has built a cloud based UAV processing product – this is called the GeoApp.UAS. This is a Hexagon Smart M.App that supports cloud-based processing for these unmanned aerial systems. It’s an elegant cloud-based solution. It allows a fairly robust solution without requiring a lot of expertise from their users. So it makes very easy for data collectors to process the data, quickly upload it to the cloud using M.App Chest and then use the GeoApp.UAS in order to process the information and ultimately deliver it to the users.

AG: And this is the most important one – where can we get M.App Chest from?

BC: Part of the Hexagon Smart M.App platform includes a component that we call the M.App Exchange. The M.App Exchange is really, it’s like an online store, a central repository for Hexagon Smart M.Apps and this is where our partners are able to publish their Smart M.Apps that they’ve built, but this is also where end users would go to discover, to purchase and then to manage access to these Smart M.Apps. So M.App Chest is considered part of the M.App Content category on the M.App Exchange.

AG: Any closing remarks?

BC: I think maybe just one last thing. We’ve spoken a lot about Hexagon Smart M.Apps. The Hexagon Smart M.App platform is all a part of what we call the M.App Portfolio. This is a portfolio that’s a modern cloud-based platform. It includes the M.App Foundation which is the hosting platform. It includes M.App Studio which allows our partners to build Hexagon Smart M.Apps and then it includes the component of the M.App Exchange which I spoke about, which is where our end users can discover and experience Smart M.App applications.

AG: We appreciate your time today and thank you for being our guest, Bruce.

BC: Thank you for having me.

AG: Thank you for taking us on a walk through on the innovation and dynamic Smart M.Apps that we’re getting from Hexagon Geospatial.

To our listeners you can learn more about Hexagon smart map at hexagongeospatial.com. Tune into more episodes on Hexagon Radio on iTunes, SoundCloud, or Stitcher Radio. Thanks for listening.